In the poetry circuit in India, one of the most inspiring people who has introduced slam poetry to hundreds has been Shantanu Anand, co-founder of Airplane Poetry Movement (APM). He shares some insights and recommendations from the year that was:
What's the nicest thing you did for someone in 2018?
Damn – I genuinely can't think of anything. Thanks for making me feel bad about myself, Rohini!
Has 2018 been a good year for you in terms of productivity and creativity? What all did you work on this year?
The biggest thing is the Ultimate Airplane Poetry Movement Anthology, which Nandini and I are working on right now. It's an effort to put the heart and soul of APM into one book, and to represent all the love and talent that we see in the poetry community around us. It's due to release in April 2019, and it's taking up all of our time and headspace right now. It's been one year in the making, and we are very close to see what it finally becomes. Between you and me (and everyone else reading this), I have a feeling it's going to be beautiful.
Which film that you saw this year changed something in you?
Not going to name a film. Instead, I'm going to take this opportunity to rave about my favourite piece of art to come out of 2018 – Nanette. In my opinion, Nanette transcended stand-up comedy, and it reminded me how powerful art can be. I don't think I watched a single film this year that had the same impact on me as Nanette did. It's a complete masterpiece.
I also want to take this opportunity to recommend Daredevil Season 1: Episode 2 to everyone. You don't have to watch any other episode in the series (which blows hot and cold). But I watched this episode late one night, and I just thought that if this exact episode had been a standalone film, it'd have been the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight. It's an absolute masterclass in characterisation and storytelling, and it gave me goosebumps.
Which song/s did you listen to on loop this year?
a. Holocene by Bon Iver (What a beautiful, beautiful song!)
b. The Ultracheese / Star Treatment by Arctic Monkeys (What do you mean you've never seen Bladerunner?)
c. Black Spiderman by Logic (I can listen to the last three minutes of the song on loop forever)
d. Videotape (From The Basement version) by Radiohead (This is one of my favourite live performances of all time, it's just so much better than the studio version.)
e. Ten Years Gone by Led Zeppelin (Funnily enough, it's been 10 years since I first heard this song, but it still moves me in the same way as it did in 2008!)
Best book you read this year?
Not read those many full books, to be honest, but I'd recommend The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry to everyone. It makes poetry so accessible, and lucidly explains the techniques of poetry. And Stephen Fry's writing is as smooth as a Rolls Royce. If you want to become a better poet, the first thing you must do is read this book! (Special thanks to Fathima Zahra for recommending this book to me!)
A few words to sum up 2018?
2018 was a slow year for me, personally. I'm just not sure I achieved too much, in a concrete sense. I think learning is the best word that represents 2018 for me, because I do feel like I learnt a lot this year, about poetry specifically, but about other stuff as well.
What's your 2018 takeaway?
Not too sure, right now. Time will tell.
What's 2019 looking like for you? What are your goals/plans/dreams for the year ahead?
I have a few personal goals, but I don't plan on revealing them too soon!! Spoiler: they're all poetry-related! I just hope I manage to improve as a person, and keep learning about the world around me. The one thing I don't want to be this year is arrogant/complacent, and I just want to make sure I fight off those feelings (as and when they come!)
Follow Shantanu's poetry adventures here.