After Tagore-Yates union, Indian and Irish poets to meet in India


London : Nearly a century after the Irish poet W.B. Yeats helped launch Rabindranath Tagore to global fame, some of Ireland’s most distinguished poets have teamed up with their Indian counterparts to celebrate a week-long festival of languages and culture in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

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Believed to be the first event of its kind, the festival will bring together some of the best-known living poets of India and Ireland, including Michael Longley, Sunil Gangopadhyay and Jayanta Mahapatra.

The festival flags off with an event Wednesday in Kolkata, organised by the British Council and Queen’s University Belfast, where many of the participating Irish poets are based.

Those taking part from India are: Ashoke Viswanathan, Jayanta Mahapatra, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Srijato and Manang Dai.

The Irish delegation includes: Michael Longley, Ireland Chair of Poetry and one of the foremost living poets in the English language; Ciaran Carson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queens University; Ed Larrissy, Professor of Poetry at the School of English at Queen’s; P�draigin Ni Uallach�in, traditional singer in residence at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, and Edna Longley, Professor Emerita at Queen’s.

Tagore became the first non-White writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 – a year after Yeats read his collection of poems ‘Gitanjali’ and introduced it to Western audiences in effusive terms.

Queen’s University Belfast Vice-Chancellor Peter Gregson said Tuesday: “It is a great privilege that Queen’s can share this wealth of talent with fellow artists in India and compare how their experiences have helped shape modern-day contemporary Indian and Irish poetry.”

Ciaran Carson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s said: “Poetry transcends international boundaries and we greatly look forward to exploring it further with our fellow poets in India.”