“Writers on Rights” Poetry Event: A First-Timer’s Impression #2

A special guest post about the May 14 “Meet Me in the Aga Khan Museum” event by Luka Pajkovic

“Meet Me at the Aga Khan/Writers on Rights” was my first time at a poetry reading, I went in not knowing what to expect, and I’m happy to say I was blown away. I had never really considered poetry readings before, I tend to read poems myself and leave it at that. But the poets I saw on the fourteenth read their works so passionately and with so much intensity that their words took on power and life that I don’t think I have ever seen captured on the page.

Vivek Shraya’s performance, where she sang lyrics from a range of black female artists, was incredible, and turned the reading into a concert. It was an experience that couldn’t be matched by just reading the poem. Hearing Vivek’s piece, as well as all the other poems, made me think about everything that is added to a poem when you hear someone read it. Especially if they read it with true feeling, like all the speakers at Sunday’s event seemed to do. Through their reading, every poem was filled with the emotions of its author. I think this carried over to the audience, and it influenced the way the poems were understood. I know it was like that for me at least.

Considering the heavy subject matter, human rights, and some recent events, things got pretty intense during more than a few readings. The audience even had to be reminded to breathe. Listening to these poets reminded me of the power that poetry can have, and how moving it can be; the tension and energy in the theatre was enough evidence to convince me.

The Aga Khan is a beautiful museum, and its auditorium made the perfect venue for such a powerful display of art and language. It was an amazing event, and well worth it when the only price of admission was being inside on a sunny day.