Rekindling the Poetic Spirit: Bengaluru’s Glass House Festival Illuminates Dialogues on Global Issues


In the wake of a world weary from isolation and strife, the ArtMantram Trust is set to reignite the comforting flame of poetry at the first in-person Glass House Festival on March 23 and 24. Bengaluru’s Bangalore International Centre will open its doors to an event that aims to not only celebrate the art of verse but also to forge connections across cultural and linguistic divides.

As the festival unfolds, attendees will be treated to an impressive array of poetic expressions, with over 100 poets from varied backgrounds gracing the stage. Alongside the traditional readings, the festival boasts an engaging roster of workshops and performances that promise to spice up the experience with recitative and slam poetry, regional language showcases, and intimate close readings.

Adding to the festival’s luster, acclaimed poets like Annie Zaidi, who will join via online participation, as well as Ashwani Kumar and Gayatri Majumdar will bring their distinct voices and star power to the event. However, at its core, the Glass House Festival extends a warm, inclusive invitation to poetry aficionados from every corner of society, offering everyone a chance to partake in these creative exchanges.

It’s poetry’s unique economy of language that co-curator Rochelle Potkar celebrates, likening it to “the universe’s Morse code,” where depth and meaning are encapsulated in concise, rhythmic bursts. This ability of poetry to communicate rich and complex themes rapidly is integral to the festival ethos.

A standout feature of this year’s Glass House Festival is its commitment to fostering meaningful discussions. Panels on provocative topics such as the situation in Gaza, issues of incarceration, freedom of speech, and the important role of environmental activism will punctuate the two-day event. The blend of various art forms, including captivating dance performances interwoven with poetry readings, highlights the festival’s belief in art’s profound capability to enrich and deepen the conversation.

Originating from a period marked by isolation, the Glass House Festival’s 2024 edition is reminiscent of its inaugural intent, yet with a broader canvas. Yumna Hari Singh, founding trustee of ArtMantram, articulates this vision: a beacon of hope and solidarity amidst the violence and discord that characterizes the contemporary zeitgeist.

Furthering its inclusive approach, the festival seamlessly adapts to hybrid modalities – welcoming poets from across the globe to share their work in online sessions that echo the festival’s pandemic-era initiation. This global chorus stands testament to the human yearning for connection and understanding regardless of the distance that separates us.

Beyond the immediate dazzle of the live readings and discussions, ArtMantram Trust envisions a lasting impact. The conversations initiated here are seen as seeds, meant to continue germinating in the minds of attendees long after the festival’s end. Rochelle Potkar encapsulates this hope, emphasizing the desire for the Glass House Festival to resonate well into the future.

In an open-hearted gesture, the two-day festival invites the public to attend for free, a testament to its mission of accessible artistry and engagement. As the festival is poised to commence, those eager for more information or to immerse themselves in this inspiring assembly can find details on the websites artmantram.org and bangaloreinternationalcentre.org.

Thus, the Glass House Festival of 2024 stands ready to reawaken a community of minds in Bengaluru and beyond, offering a space for poetic reflection, shared human experience, and the continual quest for peace and understanding in an ever-divergent world.

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