Jaipur: For Pulitzer winner Vijay Shesadri all poets, be it medieval era saint poet Kabir or the English dramatist Shakespeare, have transformed the world one way or the other and continue to be its unacknowledged legislators.
"Poetic imagination is not something magical which dwells into the heart of readers, it is deep as a critical thinking discussion on an issue of national importance. Poets, however, continue to be the unacknowledged legislators of the world," Sheshadri said at the Jaipur Literature Festival here today.
The Bangalore-born poet, essayist and literary critic who won the 2014 Pulitzer for his fourth poetry collection, "3 Sections", delivered the keynote address at the inaugural day of the five day literary event.
Seshadri chaired a session titled "The Poetic Imagination" along with acclaimed writer and translator Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, along with poet and literary critic Ashok Vajpeyi.
"We have celebrated the legacy of Kabir, Shakespeare and Galib over decades but their role in transformation or leading the world, goes unacknowledged," he said.
Sahitya Akademi Award winner Ashok Vajpayee differed with Seshadri when he said, "I believe it's the otherway round that poets are legislators of the unacknowledged world."
"It goes beyond saying that like any piece of fiction, poems are half truths, half imagination some are half conclusions too. Poems are like stones, some hit hard some hit slow," he said.
Vajpayee pointed out that "Ghalib and Shakespeare have been legislators of the unacknowledged world only."
"They are contemporaries who made us believe that world is not the way we have been served with. Their poems led us to believe that world can be viewed differently , it can be changed. But that world which is half true and half imaginative, is the unacknowledged world," he said.
Meanwhile, poet and translator Arvind Krishna Mehrotra classified poets has the biggest risk takers.
"Poets take risks with their imagination, infact they are the biggest risk takers. But that doesn't mean they write complete truths or complete fiction. Like any novelist they also give the truth a benefit of doubt," he said.