BLRC observes World Poetry Day in Toronto
'Poetry should be free from Royalist Canada's university elites' hierarchy to come down to mass people' - was the resounding declaration by former Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke in his stylish dramatic pronunciation, and '…it is the poets' voice both classic and modern that have held humanity high above all sectarian communalism and will ever do so' - as asserted by Ekushe Padak (the highest literary award in Bangladesh) awardee Poet Asad Chowdhury, in a BLRC mega event to celebrate World Poetry Day in Toronto on 18 March.
It was a Bengali Literary Resource Centre (BLRC) presentation, supported by Toronto Arts Council at Albert Campbell Library auditorium at 4:00pm and as expected, Toronto connoisseurs of art and poetry swarmed in the vibrating hall with George Elliott Clarke and Asad Chowdhury jointly opening the grand occasion. In observance of World Poetry Day 2018 the two veterans, George Elliott Clarke and Asad Chowdhury came on the stage together for the first time to mark the BLRC grand occasion here in Toronto, Canada.
The huge significance of the event takes an extra dimension when it happens in Canada, which is the first country to raise the issue of International Mother Language Day in the world forum to skyrocket our national pride as Bengalies and our sacrifice for the cause of mother tongue way back in 1952.
It is more so in the backdrop of 21st February celebrated just a couple of weeks back and 26 March just a week ahead which are the highest glorious days in Bangladeshi Canadians' history.
The entire programme segmented in four sessions entertained the houseful Toronto audience both with recital amusement and academic awe. After the welcome speech by BLRC Secretary Fayzul Karim, and Prezi presentation by Arka Bhattacharjee, the panel discussion on Canadian poetry started with George Elliott Clarke in the chair where speakers were Sujit Kusum Paul, Subrata Kumar Das, Parvez Chowdhury and Surajit Roy Majumder.
Paul stressed on the beginning and development of Canadian literature as university course canons; Das pointed out the major turns in the history of Canadian literature's development from the beginning through the League of Confederation Poets in 1867 and onward; Chowdhury entertained audience equally with his recitation from the Bengali translation of Clarke's poems while Majumder focused on immigrant voices in Canadian English poetry as panel discussants.
The post-tea Talks on Canadian Poetry session was chaired by poet Asad Chowdhury where panelist Delwar Elahi started with Dadaism-Cubism and Baudelaire-Malarme and finally equated poetry with the absolute in interesting philosophization of his topic.
The next speaker Dr Badal Ghosh elaborated on major forms of poetry in convention. The Chair of the session Poet Asad Chowdhury concluded with his valuable remark on how poet's feelings and expressions differ depending on the individual reality and the choice of language citing from Kashiram Das to Michael Madhusudan Dutt.
The next segment `Reading by Canadian Bengali Poets' was chaired by another veteran poet Iqbal Hassan where Mehrab Rahman, Sheuli Jahan, Amit Mukhopadhyay, Manzu Man Ara, Aniruddha Alam, Mou Madhubanti and Ritusree Ghosh recited to the audience from their own writings.
Before the vote of thanks by BLRC Executive Director Subrata Kumar Das, the audience had another prize session of recitation from classic Bengali poets rendered by renowned Toronto artists namely Suman Malik, Chayan Das, Ahmed Hossain, Mary Rashedin, Sharmistha Saha, Dilara Nahar Babu, Hosne Ara Jemy and Alina Hawlader Razario who chose a wide range starting from Charyapada to most recent Bengali poets including Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Asad Chowdhury, Nirmalendu Goon among others.
Aditi Zahir played the vital role of anchor announcement of the grand cultural event.
The writer is a literary critic