Kaavya (Poetry) Connections

If you are reading this you probably are a poet, a writer or someone who is associated with poetry and literature in San Francisco and Bay Area. I am an organizer of Hindi, Urdu, Sufi Poetry, All Languages Poetry and Literature Group (https://www.meetup.com/preview/Hindi-Urdu-Sufi-All-Languages-Poetry-and-Literature-Reading) in San Francisco.

We are becoming Kaavya (Poetry) Connections to represent our broader vision for a dynamic, inclusive and open to all poetry, literature and arts community.

Kaavya (Poetry) Connections aims to:

  • Promote poetry and literature from around the world.
  • Create and curate musical and mystical performance events.
  • Create immersive experiences of arts with poetry and literature.
  • Publish poetry and literature translations.
  • Promote language education.
  • Build diverse, inclusive, and open to all community.

Diverse, Inclusive, and Open Community — Join us

We are looking forward to collaborating with more writers, poets, artists, improvisers, sound designers, and musicians (local and international) and work together to grow our diverse and inclusive community in San Francisco and the Bay Area. We are looking for organizers in Berkeley and Palo Alto.

Upcoming Events

September 23rd, 2017 — San Francisco Theme: Short Stories (The Center SF). https://www.facebook.com/events/1948653332048392/

October 28th, 2017 — Sufi Qawwali with Sukhawat Ali from Lahore, Pakistan (The Center SF). https://www.facebook.com/events/1714754118829198/

Community Vision — Diverse, Inclusive and Open

As we continue a successful four-year run, we are ever more passionate for our community vision.

A dynamic, inclusive and open community of language, poetry and literature enthusiasts, readers, writers, and listeners who come together to connect, spread love and understanding of the thoughts, expressions, and cultures from around the world through recitations, discussions, transliteration and translations of the native language poetry and literature in Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Spanish, German, French, Sufi mystic poetry and other languages.

We bring together people from diverse cultures, languages, countries, backgrounds to share their own rich culture of poetry, literature and ideas, gather in an informal way that encourages discussions, sharing our stories, experiences, and building connections with poetry and literature events for those who are not necessarily writers/poets, rather who are eager to explore, learn, amateurs who feel intimidated by poetry and literature.

We encourage and spread poetry to those who are hesitant, a newbie in poetry and literature like me. In my view, poetry and literature need to get out on the streets, on the roads for everyone to embrace, touch and feel the texture of the words, paint and draw poems on the pathways, streets, and walls, in the parks, and not be restricted by any rigid format or pedagogy.

In short, we want to create an environment where we do not eat poetry daintily with a knife and fork always rather sometimes use chopsticks, and use our hands.

My journey and perspective

I present my thoughts on our journey so far and our next steps as we march towards a four year milestone of organizing events in San Francisco and Bay Area.

An opportunity with a tech startup brought me to San Francisco in 2012. I fell in love with the city, the people, the connections, and the community I am able to develop here makes me feel at home in San Francisco.

My connections and community building in San Francisco started outside of the tech community. In my search for a guitar teacher on Hayes Street, then a djembe teacher on Mission Street I meet the local people and explored the neighborhoods in the city. Next, finding a painter and artist — Justin Hess to learn the rigor and technique for classical realism brought me closer to artists and their survival in the city. During my first year, I attended many open mic events, poetry group events, performances, community events, reading and drawing around the cafes on Haight Street and other neighborhoods.

After a year of in San Francisco and being actively engaged in the culture, art, poetry and literature events in the city, I thought wouldn’t it be nice to meet some folks who are engaged in poetry and literature in other languages — Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Persian, Turkish, Spanish, Arabic, German, French and Sufi mystic poetry to discuss and share the joy of poetry.

On Dec 13th, 2013, I decided to start a group through meetup.com a poetry group for Hindi, Urdu and Sufi poetry and literature reading in San Francisco (https://www.meetup.com/preview/Hindi-Urdu-Sufi-All-Languages-Poetry-and-Literature-Reading) since I could not find one in San Francisco. I had no expectation and outcome out of this group — if this group will survive for more than few months or not. It started as an experiment for me. As is always the case, when you expect the least the life surprises you. The only commitment I made to myself is that I will continue reading at the cafes on the weekends, and if anyone comes and joins me — that keeps the group going, otherwise, I had nothing to lose. This group grew from a core belief that if one persists and commits to shows up every time the people who have similar interests eventually show up.

As the group grew from one, two, three and more (now 290 members) the key values that we aspire to maintain are:

  1. Welcoming
  2. Informal
  3. Translation
  4. Discussion
  5. Stories
  6. Connections

With the birth of the group, nurturing and feeding it for a couple of years by merely showing up every month, carrying it through the small beginnings I looked for ways to engage and connect more members with the group.

I encourage everyone who is curious, newbie, and connects with the group vision and format to help grow and build the group together. In the process, I welcome members to become part of the group organization activities. I found some wonderful human beings along the way who are connoisseurs of the poetry and literature in many languages and were eager to help grow this group along with me. Thus came along the critical contributors — Soma, Laura, Melita, Ashish and Divya, co-organizers — Shashank, Pranjali, Gerardo, Ashish, Ashutosh, and Prima whose contributions have been invaluable for the group. All the members including first — Asha who showed up made this journey possible so far.

Since December 2013, this group has grown to 290 members and organized 47 poetry events in San Francisco, Berkeley and Palo Alto. On our way to a milestone of organizing 50 poetry events by Dec 2017, we have also evolved from early beginnings of Hindi, Urdu, Sufi Poetry and Literature Group to Hindi, Urdu, Sufi Poetry, and All Languages Poetry and Literature Reading Group. This evolution is the testament to the diversity of the group members who come together to read, recite, discuss, and translate poetry in many languages including Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Persian, Turkish, Spanish, Arabic, German, and French and Sufi mystic poetry.

As the group evolved over the years we have organized events beyond poetry and literature reading that includes —

  1. February 2015 — Dilwale Dulhaniya Lae Jayenge (Second Act, Haight Street, SF) https://www.facebook.com/events/974078899286181
  2. February 2017 — Sufi Qawwali with Kiran Rana (The Center SF) https://www.facebook.com/events/746249148865222/ .

To make this group further open, inclusive through multilingual poetry and literature from around the world, expressing poetry through music — Sufi Qawwali and other events, translating and publishing native language poetry, and many other upcoming projects, we believe that we like to represent our evolution with the name for the group that captures the core values, vision and evolution since its inception aptly.

To that end we are becoming: Kaavya (Poetry) Connections.

Please join us in our efforts to build a community together.

Welcome to Kaavya(Poetry) Connections!

P.S: Thanks to wonderful and lovely human being Tracey Meyers, Jyoti Bachani, Sumita Didi Sandhu, Pranjali Sirasao, Prima Virani, and Divya Purohit Vyas for reviewing, support and encouragement for the writeup.