Open-mic poetry with Easterine Kire
DIMAPUR — Despite the clamour of vehicles outside, inside the cosy confines of the White Owl Book Lounge, a different kind of atmosphere prevailed.
Noted poet and author, Easterine Kire, kicked off an interactive session moderated by author and assistant professor, Shelmi Sankhil.
Kire set the tone of the evening by inviting anyone who wants to dance to the poem “The body is a map,” printed copies of which were distributed among the attendees. What followed was a unique and participatory reading experience, with Kire initiating each line and the audience eagerly chiming in to complete it.
It was a moment of communion, as strangers became united in their shared exploration of Kire’s verses.
Mamang Dai, poet and novelist hailing from Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, read one of her poems ‘Floating Island’ followed by a poem by Derek Walcott.
She said, “I just wanted to share this poem because it has a lot of meaning in my life.”
Avinuo Kire read one of her poems ‘The night comes to me’ followed by Mamang Dai’s ‘Remembrance.’
Jim Kasom read two poems from his book ‘Cradling memories of my land,’ a tribute to his two grandmothers who named him. As he recited his verses, his poems let out a string that pulled the crowd to the hills, into the essence of his roots.
Asenla Yanger read a poem from her book ‘Echo my soul,’ which captivated the crowd with her oratory skill.
The second segment was open to anyone from the audience who wanted to read out their poems.
In response, Renthunglo Shitiri, read a poem titled ‘Kindness,’ which was addressed to her daughters.
Around 6-7 more individuals took turn reading their poems. Among them, a student from Patkai Christian College, Machipeibo Zeliang, read his poem, ‘The thatched house,’ a poem written inside the confines of his grandmother’s house.
After the event, Eastern Mirror spoke with Jim Kasom to hear about his experience. Kasom shared that it was his inaugural open-mic jazz poetry experience.
“Reading poetry to a live audience adds depth; you receive immediate emotional feedback from faces in the crowd akin to our oral storytelling traditions. It is a raw, essential art form where hours of writing culminate in spontaneous expression,” Kasom reflected.
He described the event warm and inclusive, offering a chance to share the stage with established and emerging writers alike. Kasom envisioned future sessions retaining this spirit but suggested infusing cultural significance into readings.