When author Shinie Antony and her team from the Bangalore Literature festival started the Bengaluru Poetry Festival two years ago, they didn’t quite expect the kind of response they got (over 1,000 attendees each day; no standing room for some of the sessions). “We’d booked a small venue and were completely thrown," says Antony.

The Bengaluru Poetry Festival is back this weekend, and the organizers know what to expect. Last year, 5,000 people attended the two-day festival, which saw sold-out (metaphorically; attendance is free) sessions such as the ones with Gulzar and Pavan K. Varma and Amit Chaudhuri and Sumana Roy.

The third edition, like the previous ones, will feature poets, lyricists, singers, performers, and musicians, making it an all-round culture fest. While some of the star acts are likely to be Shabana Azmi reading father Kaifi Azmi’s poems, and film-maker Vishal Bhardwaj reading from his recently published book of poems, Nude, there will also be sessions with poets and writers such as Perumal Murugan, Sridala Swami, Jayanta Mahapatra, Amruta Dongray, Biswamit Dwibedy, and Mamang Dai. Some of the international names include Singaporean poet Alvin Pang, German poet Ulrike Almut Sandig, and Michael Creighton, who lives and works in New Delhi.

There are several performance-poets such as Kavish Seth, Rabia Kapoor and Sophia Naz, while “walking violinist" Aneesh Vidyashankar will be wandering the aisles. “Our understanding of poetry is pretty broad, and with each year, it gets wider as newer forms of poetry emerge," says Antony.

The Bengaluru Poetry Festival will take place on 4-5 August at The Leela Palace Hotel, Bengaluru.

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