With their chins held high and their brittle tea cups hanging listlessly from their rigid fingers, they say, “Poetry is dead.” The quintessence of art and poetry is lost on millennials, they claim, consumed by the slew of arduous technological redundancies the youth seems to indulge in these days. To you, my friend, I present this list. Poetry hasn’t died. Instead, like everything else, it has evolved with time, cultivated and communicated to the world in a manner that is representative of today’s youth. From dauntless statements about the gender binary in our country to impassioned rants on section 377 that will give you goosebumps, these poetic spoken word performances from some of the talented youths in India have moved us immensely. We hope they move you, too.
1. “The Privileges of a Penis” by Sudeep Pagedar
‘I’m tired of hiding behind my expansive privilege,’ Sudeep states with a building sense of urgency, an unmistakable call for action, for change. This powerful piece has taken over social media recently. The cold admissions and stark sincerity in the performance give us chills every time we watch it. Pointing out the many privileges that come with being male, Sudeep captures your attention and keeps it, until the end of the poem.
2. “Witch Hunt” by Arati Warrier
“Witch Hunt” will leave you breathless and discordant, with your emotions running high. Arati Warrier spills her soul on stage as she narrates the many trials of being homosexual in India. ‘I can’t explain to my mother that her casual homophobia is ripping holes in all of my sweaters, and I am always shivering,’ she says. Watch her monumental performance below!
3. “Society Aunty” by Mobika Maring
Mobika Maring, a spoken word poet from Shillong, illustrates the various prejudices, restrictions, prosaic double standards that are set for women in society. Speaking as ‘Society Aunty’ the personification of the society we live in, she says, ‘Your body, mine. Your mind, mine. Your time was up at puberty.’ Watch her incredible performance below.
4. “Letter to Depression” by Bharath Divakar
‘You told me you were my only friend and I believed you,’ Bharath Divakar says in this potentially life-altering piece; his pain palpable — almost corporeal. This powerful poem delves into the dark abyss of depression and abuse, bringing foreign emotions to surface and making you feel. Watch it below.
5. “#Pride” by Prachee Mashru
Prachee Mashru performs this passionate little piece with heart and undeniable dignity. In less than three minutes, she unravels the stigma and taboo attached with being homosexual, and dismantles the recently popular belief that it’s “trendy” to care about gay rights, saying, ‘Believe in #Pride so it’s not just a hashtag anymore.’ Watch it below!