Pixels and poetry
Tishani Doshi's poetry is ‘emotional', as repeatedly noted by the audience gathered at Ritu Kumar boutique for the launch of the designer's spring summer 2012 collection together with a recital by Doshi.
“I'm on a mission to take poetry to new places — which is why we're here,” said Doshi, laughing.
From her new collection “Everything Begins Elsewhere”, she read ‘Lines to a Lover From Another Century'. The speaker of the poem is nostalgic for she sees the past way of loving slowly being subsumed by technological advancement; she calls poignantly to a lover who, unlike the Skype-and Facebook-proficient lovers of today, knows something of time, of longing. “So much poetry comes out of love, out of yearning,” claimed Doshi, “In our generation it seems that no amount of distance can separate us — things such as Skype bridge distances and connect us instantly, and I think in that process of communicating so immediately we've also lost something.”
While Doshi's verse looks to the past, Ritu Kumar's pręt collection, Label, looks to the future, featuring a selection bearing pixel prints – which are apparently the new black (refer Pringle of Scotland's new pixel explosion dresses). Both Doshi and Vidya Gajapati Raju Singh, whom Doshi is in conversation with, wear dresses from the collection – embodying the strong, independent woman that the new line represents.
The past/present young/old dichotomies sprung up as an inadvertent theme of the high tea poetry afternoon, and questions addressed to the poet by the audience during her conversation with Raju Singh centred largely around observations on her youth: “It's extraordinary to have such depth of emotion from someone as young as you.”
I can't say that I agreed with this sentiment — I'm not sure why age and experience are associated with a capacity for greater depth of feeling: John Keats, widely recognised as one of the greatest of the Romantic poets, and writer of some of the greatest and most widely read love letters of all time, died at 25, and none of the Bronte sisters lived to see 40.
But it doesn't matter how old Doshi is, she isn't always just writing about herself. “Poetry is not about truth-telling, it's about emoting,” she said, and her poems slip between personas to inhabit the different bodies and emotions that enable them to have greater universality and wider reach to her audience.