Mentors

The poetry residency has three mentors who will guide the poets through different sections of the residency; from writing to publishing/performance. 

Ram Ganesh Kamatham - Playwright & Performance Artist

With over two decades of playwriting experience, Ram Ganesh Kamatham’s work has

entertained and provoked audiences worldwide with startlingly contemporary themes, bold dramaturgical experimentation and the steadfast pursuit of dramatic truth. His hit comedies include Square Root of Minus One (2002), Dancing on Glass (2004), Project S.T.R.I.P. (2008) and Ultimate Kurukshetra which won him the 2011 Sultan Padamsee Award. His genre-defying work includes Creeper (2007) and the site-specific aerial-performance piece Mall Wall (2014). He has written for young people with Beyond the Bubble (2016) and about young people in the cult-classic Crab (2006). He has pioneered the use of ethnographic research methods in playwriting, and has interdisciplinary academic training in the anthropology of media, international relations and strategic studies. His work is often set against an urban backdrop, and his characters and dialogue reflect the unique cosmopolitanism found within Indian cities.

 

Ram’s early playwriting training was through multiple residencies with the Royal Court Theatre, London. He has attended workshops with Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Martin Crimp among others, which proved transformative and shaped his later playwriting chops. Three systems form the basis of Ram’s physical vocabulary: climbing - with basics from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarakashi, the Japanese system of Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu where he is a 2nd Dan black belt holder, and Kalaripayattu learned from the Hindustan Kalari Sangam, Kozhikode. Ram’s practice-led research in the arts has been awarded multiple fellowships and grants, including the Robert Bosch Art Grant (2010), the Asif Currimbhoy Playwriting Fellowship (2009) and the Sarai-CSDS Independent Research Fellowship (2007). He has won the Charles Wallace India Trust Award twice in 2007 and 2014, and was a grantee of the India Foundation for the Arts in 2014 and 2019.

Rochelle Dsilva - Spoken Word Artist

Rochelle is a performance poet based in Goa. She writes about her travels, cultural influences and personal experiences. Her poems give voice to feelings of displacement, love and loss. She started performing in 2011, and since then has performed on numerous stages across India, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Nepal.She has been a part of a multitude of literary festivals; Times Lit Fest 2018, Goa Art and Lit Fest 2018, Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry Festival 2018, Kala Ghoda Art and Literature Festival 2018 to name a few. In 2016, she represented the Indian writing community during a poetry tour in Nepal called Words Express – Spoken Word Jatra, featuring international poets from Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and the universally proclaimed Sarah Kay. 

​In addition to her many accolades and achievements, Rochelle has worked hard to give back to the poetry community. She has created the very first residency solely designed for poets -  'The Poetry Retreat' is a 5-day residency in an Eco Stay in Goa. In 2015, she founded Words Tell Stories, a platform for poets and poetry lovers. She has conducted open mics, slams, workshops and collaborations with international and local artists. She has mentored many of the spoken word poets that have come out of Bombay and helped them hone their skills and/or learn about performance poetry.

Both her spoken word albums (A Thin Veneer of Coping and Best Apology Face) are available on Bandcamp/iTunes/Spotify.Her solo collection of poems, When Home Is An Idea, has been widely appreciated as a conduit to talk about identity and belonging.

Menka Shivdasani - Poet & Editor

Menka Shivdasani, a Mumbai-based writer, has four collections of poetry, Nirvana at Ten Rupees, Stet, Safe House and Frazil (1980 - 2017). She is co-translator of Freedom and Fissures, an anthology of Sindhi Partition Poetry, and is the editor of an anthology of women’s writing, brought out by Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women (SPARROW) in 2014. She has also edited two anthologies of contemporary Indian English poetry for the American e-zine, www.bigbridge.org. Her poems have appeared in several publications, both in India and elsewhere, and her work has been represented in the SYBA English Literature textbook of the University of Mumbai. In April 2019, her poetry collection Frazil was awarded a Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize Certificate for ‘excellent contribution to literature’. She is also the winner of the Ethos Literary Award 2019.

 

Menka has been organising annual poetry festivals since 2011 for the global movement 100 Thousand Poets for Change. In 1986, she played a key role in founding the Poetry Circle in Mumbai. 

 

Her work as a journalist includes 18 books, as co-author/ editor with Raju Kane, three of which were launched by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 

OUR PREVIOUS MENTORS: 

*Mustansir Dalvi - Poet/Translator/Editor (Mumbai) 

*Manohar Shetty - Writer/Poet/Editor (Goa) 

*Rea Burman - Performing Artist (Goa)

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The Poetry Retreat, Goa 

©2019 Rochelle D'silva 

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