The Silence Which Speaks More Than Words: Mariyam Saigal's Talk On Poetry

The Silence Which Speaks More Than Words: Mariyam Saigal's Talk On Poetry

Smruti Sudha Biswal | Mar 18, 2019

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Poetry is an intricately woven web of words. It is that silence which speaks even more than words. Poetry is not an art, but a form of emotion. When the tides turn against you and the world turns deaf ears to your woes, poetry ensures that you shed all your sorrows and pain in its lap. It is not something you need to excel in. Anyone who has emotions, who has feelings, can be a poet.

To celebrate this enthusiasm of slam poetry, Roots 3.0 organized a talk series of which there was a talk on “Learn how to take Poetry on a page to stage” by Mariyam Saigal. The talk took place at the Mechanical Department Seminar Hall on Sunday 10th  March 2019 from 10 am to 12 pm.

Mariyam Saigal is a renowned poet, feminist and content writer has a different taste for life. An outspoken personality with an amazing sense of humour, she is one of the most talented people one will come across. In her talk, she started off by explaining the different forms of poetry that range from timeline poetry to abstract and then to letter format poetry. During her address, she especially emphasized the use of figures of speech like metaphor, simile, hyperbole, personification while explaining the ways to frame a poem before proceeding to point out the importance of using a “punch line” at the culmination of your masterpiece.

How to write a good poem?

According to Mariyam Saigal, a good poem always establishes a common ground between you and your reader. A good poem finds that tiny speck of similarity with its reader. According to her, a poem will be appealing only when it empathizes, sympathizes and soothes the writer and the reader alike. Words when properly used are calm, subtle and sober. Every such reader who correlates himself with the poem will find it impressive.

She then talked about where one’s creativity lays hidden. She pointed it out that its ones personal space from where the creativity stems out. To create humour, she put up a question “How many of you get ideas when you are in the toilet?” to which a pretty large number of hands were raised. She then went on to give an explanation for the result. She said that creative ideas emerge when you are at your comfort zone, in your personal space where there is no intervention of any person.

At a point, she mentioned that the culture of slam poetry was started by construction workers.

As a part of the talk, she showed videos of slam poetry performed by different people across the world and talked about the points that one needs to fix in their mind while going for slam poetry.

She then gave 4 topics and asked the audience to pen a poem without any constraints on usage of words, syllables etc. The topics were:

  1. Rock out like
  2. A cheesy love letter to yourself/A drunk text message to God
  3. 6 honest thoughts about something
  4. Something you did for the first time.

There was no constraint on the usage of words. The floor was open for the fresh inflow of ideas. The domain was diverse and any type of poem could pen. 15 minutes were allotted for this task. After the time allotted was up, she explained a few points that needed to be taken care of while doing slam poetry. They are

  1. Know your poem

You should know what you have written and what you wish to give it to the audience, be it a message or a lesson or anything.

  1. Pauses

Ensure that you give proper pauses at regular intervals. It should not be like you are reading out a newspaper or a story. Try to bring in the poem to life.

  1. Enunciation

Make proper use of your syllables while reading out the words used in your poem. Wrong usage of the syllables might convey a meaning different to that intended.

  1. Eye contact

Your poetry will be appealing to the audience only when you have proper eye contact with them. It will give the vibes of slam poetry, otherwise, it might be simply reduced to a new reading or story reading.

  1. Practise 

As the adage says “Practice makes a man perfect”. Practice as much as you can. Grab every opportunity that knocks at your door. Even if it is a piece of trash, don’t let your morale go down and improvise every time you fail.

Following which few participants from the audience turned up with their creative pieces. She listened to them and gave them her remarks. She then differentiated between slam poetry and an open mic. While slam poetry deals with strong topics, open mic deals with topics that are calm and subtle.

To wrap up the talk she explained what it takes to be a poet?

Someone who has courage will make a poet. Someone who has to break the glass ceiling and come out from his/her comfort zone will make a poet. Someone who has the strength to ignore negative criticisms and embrace positive ones will make a good poet. Never demean your art. Recognize yourself. Try to find out loopholes and improvise accordingly.

In the end, she has presented a memento as a token of appreciation.


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