The Book

Can a poem be cinematic? Can a poem become a dance? Can a poem feel like a beautiful painting?

How can poetry show us the way to find our many creative selves?

In the book 'the Poetic Saree', poetry becomes the window,
that makes us connect with nature,
see the beauty in our daily lives,
and listen to the artiste within us all

Experience a book in all its avataars...as a Book, Video Poem, Audio, and the art inspired by the book


'When dance is called poetry of the body, we see words becoming dance in Jaya's poetry'- Leo Spreksel, artistic director, Korzo Theatre, Netherlands

An Odissi dancer and international performer, Jaya Mehta's poetry has been danced on stage in international dance productions and is powerfully multi-dimensional.
Performed at the India Dans Festival in the Hague, The International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, and published by the Levure Literraire, Jaya Mehta's art bridges the traditional and modern. The poems leap off the page, born of dance and a deep immersion in Indian art and nature.
This is her first volume of dance-poems. Jaya Mehta and her family currently live in New Delhi.

Read more about the artiste

'The Poetic Saree' Audio

Accompanied by the lilting notes of the classical guitar, the poems from the book 'the Poetic Saree', turned into a bright and inspirational audio. The poems in their audio avataar, cascade onto the ears, and seek to brighten and inspire each day. The narration is by dancer, Jaya Mehta and the classical guitar is played by the acclaimed guitarist, Pranai Gurung.
Images from the recordings done at Super Studios, New Delhi, by the poet-narrator and guitarist.

Dance-Poetry on SoundCloud

Dance Production

'The Poetic Saree', has become an exciting dance production that brings together many artistes and bridges the binaries of the traditional and explorative. Born of Odissi these dance-poems are choreographed by Jaya Mehta in collaboration with international choreographer, Patty Broese Van Groenou. The performance is also set to music recorded by some brilliant musicians from different genres of Indian music like Guru Prafulla Kumar Mangaraj (Odissi maradala), Shri Mohsin Ali Khan (Hindustani vocals), Dr. Mahashveta das (Hindustani vocals) and Dr. Panchali Ganguly (sitar). The lights design is by Atul Mishra.

Video Poems

"In the lovely sun of February in New Delhi, when the koel bird is cooing away and the mango tree blossoms with a thousand flowers, film maker Shabani Hassanwalia and I created 5 videos based on 5 poems, titled 'The Poetic Saree video project'. It seemed to me that the poems found a fuller life in the videos, quite like many women in waiting, waiting to find themselves, outside of their many roles. Each poem a silent, waiting woman, beautiful but not sad, not pining for a lover. One with the universe.
It was beautiful to see the five poems take colour and form gradually in New Delhi, old and new: The 'Sculpturesque' poem, all black and bejewelled in the historic Hauz Khas area; The green 'Sakhi' poem, near grey DDA apartments; The 'Saree and Me', a riot of colour that the saree evokes in a leafy brown Sanjay Van; the 'Javakusum', all red and wind-hued on top of a hill. And finally, 'The Mango Tree', a bright yellow place in the heart, near the waters of the Neeli Hauz."

- Jaya Mehta

Art inspired by the book

Fabric artiste, Neena Mohan has created a beautiful collection of fabric earrings, taking inspiration from 'the Poetic Saree' book of dance-poems.
She has woven the poems and their themes of nature into her handmade creations, whether it is the leaves of the forest following the wind, or the rich inspirations from saree fabrics and the dancer's anklets. Her elegant 'Poetic Saree' earrings collection is a treasure trove of poetic feelings embodied in thread.

Click on the images to see the poetry inspiration for the image

What people say?

'A dazzling collection of poetry, full of beauty and grace.'

Sonia Faleiro author of 'The Beautiful Thing'

What people say?

'When dance is called poetry of the body, we see words becoming dance in Jaya's poetry'

Leo Sprekselartistic director, Korzo Theatre, Netherlands

What people say?

'In these poems, the colours, images, elements, rhythm and the flow of nature, the spins, swirls and ecstatic movements of the dancer become the poem, in which the meaning is dance itself.'

H S ShivaprakashKannada poet, playwright and Sahitya Akademi awardee

What people say?

' These poems will inspire everyone to listen to themselves and to the world around them.’

Sayantani Dasgupta author of 'The Fire Girl'

What people say?

'...what is going for Jaya Mehta is the intensity with which she writes. There is an irrepressibility about her poems. They are not words; they are a symphony of emotions that demand to be expressed.'

Anjuly Mathai, The WEEK