A low carbon footprint book release of Poet Madhu Raghavendra’s latest collection Being Non-essential at Garbhanga Waterfalls hosted by Encamp Adventures
In a first-of-its-kind book release, celebrated poet Madhu Raghavendra released his latest collection of poems, Being Non-essential (published by red River), at the Garbhanga Waterfall at the Garbhanga Reserve Forest during a hiking event organized by Encamp Adventures on August 29 morning.
Deep within the forest, there were songs of birds, a kaleidoscope of butterflies, music of the waterfall, where the book was unveiled. No plastic gift wraps were used to unveil the book or fancy bouquets given. It was a low carbon footprint book release followed by a reading of poems from the book by the poet. Also present, along with participating hikers, were Dibyajoti Sarma, a poet, and publisher who runs one of India’s fastest-growing independent poetry publishing houses, and Dr.Abhijit Bhatia, travel enthusiast and doctor at NEIGRIHMS, Shillong.
The book release did not merely end with an applause. After the book release, the participants were encouraged to carry out plogging, and enthusiastically they did. Gloves were worn and sacks were arranged to collect all the plastic and non-biodegradable waste littered in the area.
‘I would like to think the point of this launch is quite pertinent, even revolutionary in contemporary art. If one is to ask, why release a book of poems at a waterfall? The answer is, why not? So, art for me lies in the ‘why not?’ rather than the ‘why?’ Art is supposed to push horizons and boundaries in real ways. The job is art is to accommodate absurdities and senselessness and silliness.’, says Madhu.
The book release also aimed to give a message that there is no need for swanky hotels, enormous auditoriums, and expensive stages to release art. It is important for art to emanate from grandeur spaces. But a good old scenic waterfall too is a good enough stage given by the environment that should not be forgotten. It is not enough to talk saving of environment as an exotic idea or distant agency. We need to align our work in art and culture alongside that very idea.
Being Non-essential was written in 2020 when the world was drowning in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The poems germinated from the blurred line between poetry and journaling, out of the collective agony we experienced during the pandemic. Two of the underlying themes of the collection are how artists and environmental rights.
Madhu’s work has revolved around making poetry accessible through open mics and poetry workshops. He believes that poetry is an everyday truth and not be restricted to bookshelves. People should be brought closer to the joy of poetry as an essential part of life, is what Madhu believes.