After a successful launch of the Muse Masters poetry competition in 2014, the British Council and Monsoon Letters have partnered again to bring about the second season of this nationwide poetry contest - Muse Masters: Season 2.
Muse Masters is a poetry competition that focuses on both performance and written poetry. Poetry submissions were accepted both in Bangla and in English, and this year more than 700 submissions were recieved from all over Bangladesh.
For this year's competition, the British Council invited Indigo Williams, a high energy, intelligent performance poet from the UK, to lead a two-day workshop for the selected top 20 poets. The winners of the national poetry contest will be awarded an exposure visit to the UK.
The prize giving ceremony took take place on Tuesday 24 March 2015, at British Council, 5 Fuller Road, Dhaka. The final competition was judged by eminent poets Kaiser Haq, Professor of English, University of Dhaka, Sajjad Sharif, Managing Editor, Prothom Alo, Rubana Huq, Editor, Monsoon Letters and Eeshita Azad, Head of Arts, British Council.
Eminent literary personality Syed Manzoorul Islam, Professor of English, University of Dhaka, and Mahbuba Moshqur, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs were present at the award ceremony event. Second year student of Bangla, Jahanggirnagar University, Sarker Muhammed Jarif was announced as the winner of the competition and Sayeeda Tahera Ahmad, Senior Staff Sub-editor of a daily newspaper was the runner-up.
Rubana Huq, Editor, Monsoon Letters said, “The potential of poets in Bangladesh writing in both the languages is enormous. The last competition prompted a massive popularity of the experimental genre of "performance poetry." Expectations this year are much more as I do believe that by separating the segments into performance and written poetry, there will be 'quality' poems in both the groups which will endorse and inspire this creative movement. Following the competition, we are hoping that Muse Masters will continue with monthly readings throughout the year. This way, a whole new band of poets will soon emerge in Bangladesh.”
Kaiser Haq, Professor of English, University of Dhaka said, “Poetry competitions are not about winning or losing; their chief role is to generate interest in poetry among common readers. This is important because quality poetry is language at its finest; learning to appreciate it is an enriching experience.”
Sajjad Sharif, Managing Editor, Prothom Alo said, “Poetry is the voice of silence. And a true voice can remain unheard for a period. Immediate victory may not always be the sign of assurance; failure doesn't mean a fullstop. So, keep on everyone.”