This year’s unexpected Nobel Prize award to Bob Dylan was an apt backdrop for the session ‘A Verse Case Scenario: Should song writers be considered poets?’ A world class panel comprising British Novelist Martin Amis, Oxford Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage, and lyricist, screenwriter and ad-guru Prasoon Joshi discussed the topic with filmmaker and writer Paromita Vohra in the Chair.
Paromita kicked off the discussion by saying, “In India, songs are often considered to be bad poetry”, while Prasoon Joshi felt that In India, poem or folks songs gave voice to people and their pain.
Armitage said that songwriters and poets share origins in terms of techniques and materials. “Dylan’s lyrics could be somebody else’s poetry.” What you do in a poem you can do in a song as well, but with melody and simple lyrics.
Considering poetry to be a higher form of literature, Amis was of the opinion that unlike prose where tragedy is considered a superior genre to romance, this is not true for poetry and song.
The panelists agreed that poetry and song are similar yet different, in terms of history, technique and the context in which they are composed. Joshi captivated the audience by reciting the poem, ‘Kya hai Kavita’. Vohra summed up the lingering question in room about the blurring lines between poetry and song, “Just like we can’t tell ‘What is love?’ there is no answer to ‘What is poetry or song?”
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