Kohima: Kohima-based PenThrill publication house on Monday released it 54th publication titled ‘Our petals’, a collection of 40 poems by two friends – Vizosienuo Shuya and Chozila L Sangtam.

The duo, who met at an National Cadet Corps (NCC) camp, decided to collaborate for their shared love for poetry. The poets describe their collection of poems as a book that deals with various subjects, prompted by different events and feelings.

The book was released by Dr Theyiesinuo Keditsu, popularly known as Mekhala Mama, who is an assistant professor from Kohima Science College.

At the launching ceremony of the book held at Ura Academy in Kohima, Vizosienuo Shuya, who made her debut as a poet, said it took over a year for the two poets to make their collaboration a reality.

She shared how the two had no competition between them as they worked on the book as both did their own thing and supported each other along the way, adding that her co-poet is a “superwoman” and an expressive person who has been great to work with.

As for 24 year-old Chozila L Sangtam, she said, “We are both individuals with different personalities but the love of poetry united us.”

The poet who has already has already published a book in 2020, shared about the challenges on how people did not value the work she did as an author, even asking her to find a government job for financial security.

“But something inside told me that I can do what I am doing. So, I worked harder everyday and tried to become a better writer. I’ve also realised that being positive is important as it helped me do my work with so much ease,” he said.

She encouraged other Naga youth to bother less about what other people may think of them and to come out of the shell of worrying what others think, as it only destroys the ability to be creative.

Promoting poetry for fresh voices

Publisher, author and journalist Vishü Rita Krocha, said that publishing “Our Petals” is another humble attempt of PenThrill to promote poetry as it is done with the belief that fresh voices represent the hopes, aspirations, struggles, and happiness of the youth today.

“Poetry, I think, can very well be the roadmap for the future that many young people aspire to have,” she said.

Recalling how she was reminded of her first publishing venture in 2008 that gave birth to “Echoes of Spring”, which she co-authored with her sister Agnes, she said, “I think there is a certain kind of joy in collaborating for something as beautiful as this collection.”

Krocha, a poet herself, said that poetry tells stories of people, connects them to our roots and culture, and also helps people to discover themselves regardless of whether a person is writing or reading it. Adding that a great poetry always enriches an individual’s experience, she said, “I think we also look to poetry for comfort and to draw strength if not to relish the pleasure of reading.”

Why should women write?

Dr Theyiesinuo Keditsu, while addressing the gathering as the special guest, lauded the poets for the collaborative work of poetry. While it is a brave and dangerous move for a poet to share a space with another poet, she praised the pure collaboration between two women who produced a great work without competition and while being each other’s support.

Terming the work as “a feminist piece”, she highlighted why it is important for women to write. To her, the society has looked at femininity with silence while masculinity with speech, a society where women have been raised and policed to not say or do certain things.

This, she said, is why writing is significant for women as it is a way for women to speak and enter into public space.

For women, the forgotten half of humanity, she said that writing is the only way to bring women into existence, claim and create space for themselves.

As women have also been trained to write according to the standards that men have set, she said that as an educator and a feminist poet, she takes up the challenge of teaching her students the standard way of writing which has been passed on by men academically, and at the same imparting knowledge on how women can write from a feminist perspective.

At the present age, she said that it is also important for men to understand the imagery of women and the new language that they use to express themselves in their own feminist terms.

Keditsu, who is also a poet and an author, acknowledged Krocha and PenThrill for giving a voice to poets as it is a real struggle to get poems published. While people finds prose easy to understand and accessible, she said that the merit of poetry is its inaccessibility as it challenges people to think and imagine.

The book release was chaired by Vimeyiekho Vitso and it began with prayers by the pastor of Baptist Church Meriema, Rev Keduolhoulie Shüya.

A special number was presented by Kihikali H Rotokha while the concluding prayer was said by Kohima Intercollegiate Evangelical Union secretary Chhaya Bisukarma.

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