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Renowned poet, author and academician K Satchidanandan, in his book Positions: Essays on Indian Literature, writes, “Only recently has women’s writing begun to receive special attention among students and scholars in India and to be read from subaltern and gender points of view.”
For women writers in the North East, the struggle is yet to be over and the rest of the country is yet to open up to the region’s literature. The prolific female writers, authors and poets, have not got their due recognition as their counterparts in other states outside the region have. One of the reasons for this is lack of a strong platform for women writers, both amateurs and the experienced, in the region and the All India Poetess Forum, created by Monroe Gogoi Phukan, could be a possible bridge.
The first chapter of the forum was inaugurated through a webinar on August 2. Besides, India’s first ever all-woman online publishing website, ‘Ode to the Poetess’, was also launched.
Launching the first chapter of All India Poetess Forum, Monroe conveyed her gratitude to guest poetesses from the North East as well as other states. Among the guests were Streamlet Dkhar, Dr Rupinder Kaur Kaiche, Shipra Verma, Zarine Wahid and Lovita Morang. Many young poetesses were also part of the event.
The website, www.odeapoetess.com, is a platform to publish and promote women’s literature from the North East. Monroe said the website “will publish materials in all Indian languages and with no age bar”.
Renowned author Streamlet Dkhar, Dean School of Humanities, NEHU-Shillong, congratulated the participants and laid stress on practice and honing the skills of literature functionaries from the beginning of their academic pursuit.
Sangeeta Suneja, author of The First Few Minutes, shared her experiences as an author and urged the budding poets and authors to “believe in their craft and master it with patience and practice”.
Recipient of the Reuel International Prize for Poetry, Shaikh Md Sabah Al-Ahmed expressed his happiness at the launch of the All India Poetess Forum. Eminent cartoonist Champak Barbara was also present at the webinar.
The esteemed poetesses joined in to discuss at length the launch from across the country.
“This is a long-due dream, to have an all-women portal for women from all walks of life. Women are innately private people and Ode to the Poetess will enable them to share their emotions in both prose and poetry,” stated Farnaaz Islam, a Guwahati-based painter and poet.
The All India Poetess Meet also had short story writer Prokritee Nazir,
Eminent poet and author Dr Shikha Tejaswi, All India Poetess Conference Member and Social Worker Evanisha Pathaw, Creative writer and Translator Priyakshi Priyodarshini, Junior Research Assistant, Department of Archaeology Bidisha
Bordoloi, Poet Shikha Pandey and Ina Sharma from Delhi.