The society-centric Vanambadi
oetry Movement of Coimbatore, which defined itself a ‘revolu tionary’ organisation in the early 1970s and took Tamil modern poetry to the masses, believe it or not, had its first interactive meeting in the building of a Congress Mandram ( Congress party office ) !
Though the Vanambadi movement
and its poetry magazine of the same title ‘ Vanambadi on the same title later became defunct, poet Elamurugu, one of its pillars, has recently brought out his omnibus edition of his poems titled Va nambadi Elamurugu Kavithaikal. The book has been produced in ‘ Vanambadi Achagam’ the printing press too that bears his organisation’s name. The p rinting press named after the ‘Vanambadi’ memories is now looked after by Elamurugu’s son Manivannan.
“ After Agniputran and Palaini
lavan, the two younger poets of those days, expressed their wish to me and my friend poet Puviarasu that we should found a movement for modern poetry, we discussed the agenda in our first meeting held in the building of a ‘Congress Mandram’ at Uppilipalayam near Singanallur.
When I gave the name for the organisation as 'Vanambadis' ( Skylarks),
my suggestion was unanimously accepted “ recalls Elamurugu.
The poet avers that only the V
anambadi movement discovered t he poet in today’s visually M arxian literary critic, the vi sually-challenged Kovai Gnani. Though the philosophy-loving critic never writes poetry, he did write verses when he was a Vanambadi and had his book of poems published on the title Kallikai those days.
“ We were also inspired by the
poetry of K.C.S. Arunachalam, who is remembered for his memorable Tamil lyric Chinna Chinna Mookuthiyam in the film Paadhai Theriyuthu Paaar , and Nilavu Poo, a book of poems by Sirpi Balsubramaniam’ s, a two-time recipient of Sahitya Akademi award
Jana Sundaram, another critic
from the Vanambadi movement, i n his foreword to Elamurugu’s book, points out:
“Though Elamurugu is a modern
poet, his verses take root fro m the poetics employed in the traditional Tamil Sangam lyric s. Also, the poet’s little knowledge in English has saved his verses from the west ern influence”
Though the beginning of the Va
nambadi Poetry Movement was si mple on a day in the Coimbator e of 1970s, its magazine Vanam badi published the writings of a number of poets, who later scaled heights of fame in creative literature. They include poets Meera,, Bala, Inquilab, Salem Tamilnadan,, Abdul Rahman, Erode Tamilanban and many more. Also, today’s popular novelist Prabanchan wrote his poems in Vanambadi under his byline ‘Prabanchakavi’ !.
A retired Tamil teacher from K
ikani Vidya Mandir Matric. Hr. Sec. School, Elamurugu was the close friend and classmate of poet Puviarasu, a two- time Sahitya Akademi award winner today and another pillar of the Vanambadi Poetry Movement.
“ While Puviarasu and I were c
lassmates in Thavathiru Santha linga Adigalar Tamil College in Perur, we cycled to the institution everyday, discussi ng poetry.” recalls Elamurugu, an octogenarian now.
Vanambadi Elamurugu Kavithaika
l - In a nutshell
Besides his major poems, Elamu
rugu’s book contains also his Tamil rendering of Walt Whitman’s popular verse Out of the cradle endlessly rockin g and renowned Malayalam poet N. Kumaran Ashan’s Maaruthal. The front jacket of the book displays the author’s colourful image, which was drawn by ‘Cine Arts’ Jeevananthan, a city-based ren owned painter and film critic, who bagged the National award for his book on Indian and world cinema Thirai Seelai’. Interestingly, Jeevananthan was Elamurugu’s s tudent in his school days.
Link to my article in The New Indian Express: http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/c/20926352