Helping Madras Literary Society to revive through poems

Members of Green Awakenings are working for a cause.

Chennai: The Coronavirus pandemic has led to lockdowns in all parts of the world. But there is one thing that it failed to ‘lock down’ – the voice of poets.

Yes On 5 June, 2020, World Environment Day, Team Kavya-Adisakrit, comprising photographer Shankar Ramakrishnan and authors Vidya Shankar, S Sundar Rajan, Anju Kishore and Sumita Dutta Shoam (publisher/founder, Adisakrit), called for poems themed on the environment from its members.

It led to an outpouring of positivity on their Facebook literary group, Kavya-Adisakrit, that showed love for the environment and dispelled all the gloom brought about by Covid-19.

Overwhelmed by the response, the idea of an e-anthology, ‘Green Awakenings’, was  born. The call for poems was extended to poets outside the group and within weeks, 120 poems from 80 poets, established as well as upcoming ones, based out of Canada, Mauritius, Palestine, the United States and India, poured in.

The e-anthology, released 29 August, 2020, also features some prose and carries relevant art and photographs by the poets.

That is not the end of the story. Around this time, Chennai’s iconic library from the colonial era, Madras Literary Society, began to face the brunt of the lockdown. Perhaps the oldest of Asia’s lending libraries, with a treasure trove of rare and ancient books, it had withstood the ravages of time and technology since 1817. But the pandemic put a brake on its literary activities. The library appealed to its members and the public to help it tide over the cash crunch.

Kavya-Adisakrit, an imprint of publishing house Adisakrit for publishing poetry, twinned its cause with that of supporting the heritage literary institution. As part of the e-anthology initiative, a call for voluntary contributions to Madras Literary Society was made that resulted in a heartwarming response and soon a tidy sum reached the library.

The ISBN-registered e-book, Green Awakenings, is available for Rs 99 on Amazon. Proceeds from the book will go towards Madras Literary Society maintenance fund.


NT Bureau