“Hasitha- A Poet in the Time of Corona”
Poetry is one of the most powerful and meaningful forms of creative expression and communication. This artistic medium is older than the written word itself, with the earliest poems being passed down from generation to generation through memorisation and word of mouth alone. Many of these ancient poems were written as heartfelt prayers, a retelling of old myths, legends and fables, or a historical account of real-life events – indeed in many societies poets were seen as having a special status and were held in high regard. One of the reasons for this is because poetry is used to describe the complexities, uncertainties, and wonders of the human condition, dealing with the soaring highs and shattering lows of what it is to be alive and experience life.
Whether this is love, loss, betrayal, joy, wonder, revenge, or bewilderment – poetry addresses the full range of human emotions, and this is the reason why we connect with poetry on such a spiritual level. There is no wonder why it continues to be one of the most popular literary genres today, as it was thousands of years ago, being such a timeless and relevant form of communication. The reason why it resonates so deeply with everyone is because poets eloquently put into words the feelings we are often unable to describe. Perhaps we were not even aware of them, until we stumble across them perfectly preserved in the ink of a poem. When someone else so succinctly expresses the depth of our emotions, it becomes such a powerful form of validation and acknowledgement.
Often, we keep our innermost thoughts buried within ourselves, and poetry is a way to release everything we have locked away and release it into the world, to not only inspire but be inspired by others. Writing and reading poetry is incredibly therapeutic and rewarding, through which we can express our innermost thoughts and relieve the burdens of our lives. Listening to poetry is a rising trend in the form of Slam Poetry or Spoken-Word Poetry. But it is not a new form, there were poets long before there were printing presses, poetry is primarily oral utterance, to be said aloud, to be heard. All over the world there are poetry slam competitions and performances.
When cinema and theatres closed due to pandemic almost all the poetry-slam events were also cancelled, and poets started taking their craft online. That is why Hasitha Adhikariarachchi and Pankaj Upadhayay collaborated with one another to create a beautiful and meaningful poetry album in YouTube. The result of their collaboration, PenPalPoetry YouTube channel is a breath-taking visual and audio tribute to poetry as an art form.
Hasitha Adhikariarachchi is an IT professional by day and a writer by night, whenever she has a moment to herself she devotes her time to writing poetry. She was born and raised in Sri Lanka, and presently works as a Technical Lead for one of the major banks in Australia. For many people, a day at work is exhausting enough, but Hasitha’s desire to pursue her passion is unstoppable. Alongside her professional achievements, she has also dedicated herself to developing her natural flair for writing with some impressive results. For example, through her writing she was able to win the NSW Multilingual Poetry Slam Australia in 2017. Her exploration into her creativity means that she has written not only poetry, but also monologues, one-act plays as well as short fiction.
Not only this, but Hasitha has also had her writings published in the Write to Reconcile II anthology in Sri Lanka, and she often recites her poetry is poetry slams. She appreciates the beauty of poetry and is passionate about spreading these positive messages to as many people and to as wide an audience as possible. This is the reason she has collaborated with Pankaj Upadhayay, an independent film maker based in Sydney, to beautifully craft impactful and meaningful videos with multiple voice over artists reciting poetry which are available on PenPalPoetry YouTube channel. They have also used imagery and music which is available under the creative commons licence to enhance the artistic quality of their videos. Their collaboration without doubt is a wonderful venture which will ensure that the beauty of poetry is open to a wide and diverse audience.
In virtually every culture, religion, society and era, poetry has existed in one form or another and it is for this reason that it has an effect on everyone, regardless of their age, background or nationality. It is a truly universal medium which transcends all borders and boundaries. Everyone experiences love and loss, joy and sadness, change and adventure. This is an intrinsic part of being human, and the beauty of poetry is that it can and will be interpreted by everyone in different ways. This is because a poem is a mirror of humanity, and with poetry we are gazing at a reflection of ourselves, our lives and our experiences. A piece of poetry will speak to each of us very differently, reflecting our feelings and thoughts and painting before us a picture of our souls.
Through her work, Hasitha is striving to capture the raw beauty and magnetic appeal of poetry, creating a poignant as well as exuberant melting point of visuals, music, and words. Poetry is a source of healing, reflection, self-awareness, and inspiration. Hasitha wishes to convey the beauty of this artistic expression to those around her through PenPalPoetry YouTube Channel, celebrating the beauty of life and what it means to be human.