Sometimes you come back late from a night out and want to hand the preamble over to someone else. Who better, in that case, than Singapore’s Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, who summed up the Poetry World Cup perfectly in a recent interview with Arts Republic? “More than the tournament… this idea is about creating awareness of poetry from the world’s cultures. It’s lovely to see the translations, poetry written in Bulgarian or Spanish rendered in English. I’ve also discovered so many amazing writers, whom I wouldn’t have come to know of otherwise. I think this is ultimately about the reader, and what each reader sees in a poem. What do they take away from it? How do they interpret it? Their gaze will be a measure of how they decide, and any decision is a wonderful one.”
MEET THE POETS
India’s representative is Shikha Malaviya, the founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Project. She also founded Monsoon Magazine, the first South Asian Literary Magazine on the web, and organised ‘100 Thousand Poets for Change — Bangalore’. Her first collection of poems, ‘Geography of Tongues’, was published in late 2013.
Indonesia are represented by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi, whose debut collection was recently described as ‘fresh air on the page.’ She has previously worked as a scriptwriter on an Indonesian sitcom, and performed her poetry for the first time in 2011 at Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. She currently lives in Naples.
India’s match against Nigeria was one of the highest-scoring games of the opening round: Nigeria led with only a few hours of voting to go, but India fought back and ended eight votes ahead. Indonesia, meanwhile, eased to a 30 vote victory over New Zealand. India were one of the pre-tournament favourites, but the first round vote totals suggest this one will be very close…
~ Shikha Malaviya
my superlative love
I hope the cells in your body
can mingle well with all the things around you
I hope your thinking
is not limited by east, west, northwest,
southwest, south, and north
Hopefully the differences
always inspire you…
~ Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi
RESULT: India won by 5 votes