The name of the collective is inspired from the lines of its founder-curator, Arjun Rajendran, in a poem titled “I Don’t Do Gifts”:
I merely author
antiquated trains that I hope
will romance against
your electric quarantines,
the nihilism you saw
in Dali’s The Persistence of Memory.
The name captures the contradictions of the context in which this collective was formed. Quarantined to the confines and comforts of their homes, the participants encounter the movement and momentum of these workshops in each session. Apart from the oxymoronic quality of the phrase, the word ‘train’ is also anagrammatically embedded in ‘quarantine’.
Each participant joins from the confines and privilege of their own abode and needs only to jump aboard in order to be swept away within the offerings of celebrated poets, challenging poetry prompts, critiques of members’ poems, and riveting post-session discussions of literature, culture, and art.
The name represents the journey of a motley group in a social-distancing milieu, bound by a fact: they are all smitten by the poetry bug. The poet, nourished by the company of peers, may then set off to places unknown as glimpsed through the train’s windows, resplendent in the fact that this is not a journey they need to make alone.