Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty strikes up a conversation with H. Masud Taj, an oral poet, a rare breed in a scenario where anything literary means the printed word
At a New Delhi hotel, striking up a conversation with this oral poet, you throw the obvious question at him at the first opportunity — so who is an oral poet? What makes him different from a regular poet? “An oral poet is one who recites his verses and may not publish them. They believe that a poem primarily belongs to the sound and sense,” he replies. Living in an age when anything literary means the printed word, you have long forgotten that the first works of literature were oral. “Beowulf”, “Odyssey”…all were first recited before alphabets took over.