North East Literary Series: Poetry reading with Lalnunsanga Ralte

Not everyone’s cup of tea, as pretty as it might sound.

Poetry – a unique genre of writing words using experiences, feelings and perspectives to then transforming them into an art form. Not just meant for the elite, powerful, intellectual or a vestige of the west but for people with soul.

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After the overwhelming response to their first two book readings, Dylan’s Cafe presented an interactive poetry session in continuation to their North East Literary Series, an endeavor to increase awareness about literary works coming out of the North East.

Lalnunsanga Ralte or famously known as Sanga is a member of the North East Writer’s Forum and has been writing compelling poetry and prose for several years now. His works have been widely appreciated and featured in various magazines and online publications in the region. He has also traveled extensively across the North East reading at prominent literary festivals and seminars and is a bright spark to watch out for.

Sanga read few of his poems along with works of famous North Eastern poets, ones he admires.

A At Dylan’s Cafe reading his poems

Sanga spoke about his journey to poetry….during his days at school, technology had not taken over so they wrote love letter and that is how poetry began for him! He wrote love letters on behalf of his friends but never one for himself. By Class 10 he had written 100’s of letters so there is a fair chance that if you were a girl from his generation and lived in Shillong you’d have a copy of his letter…albeit from someone else.

Interestingly Sanga liked a girl who was completely unaware of his feelings when he found out that his friend too like the same girl and asked him to write a letter to her on his behalf. Because it was the special “her”, he wrote a poem called Letter which was the first poem that he wrote and it got published. It reads:

“Are you well, I am well
Are you not well, I am not well
Do you breathe, I still breathe
Do you not breathe, I do not breathe
Do you love, I still love
Do you not love, I still love”

His friend asked him the meaning – apparently neither his friend nor the girl understood it. Sanga fell out of love.

Anecdotes such as these filled the room with laughter. The room was filled with people who shared a love for poetry. Like Sanga, they understood that the poem was a play on words to express that as long as she was okay, he was okay; as long as she lived and breathe, he lived and breathe; but even if she did not love him, he would will always love.

Though Sanga never wrote poems with the intention of having them published, publishing happened along the way. He wrote because he had to. Not that validation from the West is needed but rather as an acknowledgement of his endeavors it is noted that three poems of Sanga have been selected to be read at a poetry festival in Germany.

13307321_1298819110132713_1812658284988725848_nDuring a reading session at Rachna Books, Sikkim

Poetry reading is intrinsically tied to listening. Sanga’s words were so powerful that we left with an invigorated respect for poetry.

A member of the audience at the reading mentioned that “Poetry is like Cinderella…people have a step motherly attitude towards it. Hopefully it changes with more platforms as such in days to come.”

Well, hopefully it does. We all can always do with a little inspiration, positivity, art…and love.

Here is a link to Sanga’s blog – https://sangasays.wordpress.com/

 Nocy Rangsa Marak

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