The function for presenting the 10th Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry prize was held at Golden Threshold campus of the University of Hyderabad.

A joint initiative of the Srinivas Rayaprol Trust and Department of English, University of Hyderabad, the poetry contest was instituted in the year 2008 to recognize excellence in English poetry, for contestants in the age group 20-40. Every year the contest sees entries from all over India. This year’s theme was: Performance. A total of 128 entries were received from all over the country.

Professor D. Murali Manohar, Head of the English Department, University of Hyderabad started the evening with a welcome note and introduced the jury members. Two of the jury members Professor Anna Kurien and Professor Gopika Sankar were from the Department of the English, University of Hyderabad, while Professor E. V. Ramkrishnan, the eminent poet and literary scholar, was the third jury member and Chief Guest for the evening.

The stage was then taken over by Manorama Srinivas, daughter of Srinivas Rayaprol to throw some light into the life of her father, who in her words, “Ironically was not a poet by profession. Because in those days you needed a proper profession, not like today, where you can make profession out of poetry.”

“An engineer with the AP Government, we all knew that side of him. No one could ever imagine he had another mantle to wear: that of the poet.”

She extended her words of thanks to D. Murali Manohar, Head, Department of English, for all the support rendered to make this event possible and of course to Poorna Swami, the winner.

Professor Aparna Rayaprol recounted the journey of the Trust. A two minute silence was also observed to honour the memory of Meena Alexander, the poet and critic, an old associate with the University in its initial days, who breathed her last on November 21, 2018.

In an interesting disclosure Professor Aparna revealed the secret behind the age groups. ‘Bones and Distances‘ apparently considered the best work of her father was penned down by him when he was in his 20’s and hence the decision to limit entries to that age group only.

It was also revealed, “Why should I write a poem now?” an anthology of letters exchanged between Srinivas and his poet friend William Carlos is going to be launched soon.

The jury was called upon the dias and felicitated. E. V. Ramakrisnan, read the citation and handed over the prize to Poorna Swami.

From the citation: Poetry that flows effortlessly.

“Personally I don’t believe in awards or prizes though I myself have been the recipient of the same. Creative struggle is something that happens in isolation. And when people out there in the world find resonance with that, that’s the moment of happiness.”

While quoting a few lines from Poorna’s poem he said, only a Dancer can write like this and that he would love to teach this poem in class.

He himself read quite a few poems, the satirical one “How to tame a set of a new chappals”, the humorous one, “We all live double lives” and the sad one “Father’s day.”

The evening ended with a rendition of poetry by the winner, Poorna Swami. Talking of the theme performance, she meant not the stage performance but the one we all do on daily basis for each other, recalling of Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage and all men and women merely players …. ………”

From performance to having eggs in breakfast to general elections, she read out a few poems from her collection. The last poem was dedicated to the journalist activist, Gauri Lankesh.

Professor Vinod Pavarala, on behalf of the trust proposed vote of thanks to everyone, who made the event possible.

– By Zeenat Shana, Department of Communication

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