Friday, January 5, 2018

Poetry Session — Dec 19, 2017

 Zakia, Shoba, Preeti, Priya by the CYC Christmas tree
The very last session of 2017 commanded a good attendance. Many of the poems recited were in the spirit of the Christmas festival. Though some of the poets selected were performed before in the years of poetry celebration by our group, the poems chosen were different.

Shoba, Thommo, Zakia, Pamela reading, Hemjit back to camera

Joe and KumKum were still abroad but keen to participate, and left voice files in the dropbox that were played at the session for the readers.


Priya who orchestrated the session brought in Christmas plum cake for the readers, and Santa Claus caps for them to wear while reading. A Christmassy spirit of peace and harmony descended over the assembled readers.


Preeti, coming late, made a surprise entry toward the end of the session, but contributed a humorous and expressive reading of a children’s poem called Chocolate Cake by Michael Rosen. You can hear a snippet of her delightful enactment of the poem in an embedded voice file further down.



Salutations and greetings to all our readers who have contributed this past year in making our sessions memorable and pleasurable! We look forward to 2018 with relish. Here are the readers at the end of the session.

Zakia, Preeti, Priya, Thommo, Shoba, Hemjit seated
(Pamela had to leave early)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Poetry Session — Oct 13, 2017

The poetry attendance was sparse, but what was remarkable was the 4 to 1 ratio of men to women in the attendance at CYC, which became 5 to 2 when Joe and KumKum from Arlington, MA, were added as virtual attendees with their recorded voice files sent via Dropbox.


The choice of poets was all modern. Therefore penetrating the meaning posed a challenge to the readers and listeners, but that is just as well. For it makes one ponder the words of the poet, recite it aloud to discover what may be hidden in the sonority, and examine the possibilities. As Ashbery explains, obscurity can convey more in the same number of words than crystal clarity can.

Priya and Ankush

As before Priya was responsible for gathering the readers and reporting on the session. The readers responded and pictures of the occasion testify to the draw of poetry.

Sunil, Thommo, Sugandhi, Priya, Ankush, Hemjit (seated)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Julian Barnes — Sense of an Ending Sep 21, 2017

Julian Barnes is the author of the 2011 Man Booker Prize winning novel The Sense of an Ending. It is an intriguing novel with an ending that many of our readers found unsatisfactory, like the ending of a mystery novel which the author deliberately wishes to leave unresolved.


It is also a novel that speculates a great deal on philosophical matters, starting with Albert Camus’ fundamental question: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” That schoolboys in senior classes are not only seized of such questions, but also incisively dissect matters of memory and history is credit to the school system.


Adrian Finn is the precocious youngster whom the schoolmasters recognise as scholarship material from the start. Tony Webster, though not as bright, becomes his friend and they have a fateful shared relationship with the same girl, Veronica. Tony gets off unscathed, but Adrian who gets second dibs ends up a suicide; we never learn why, but are encouraged to surmise by Veronica who repeatedly says about Tony that he never ‘gets it’. Neither do we readers, in spite of the algebraic relationships Adrain leaves behind as cryptic clues.

Cake for Priya's Birthday!
An alluring feature of Barnes’ writing are the numerous allusions to the poems of Philip Larkin, scattered throughout. Joe and KumKum saw the film of the novel, but it deviates so widely toward the end that it carries the sense of a different ending, made more palatable to the reader by the director, Ritesh Batra, who made his debut with The Lunchbox in 2013.