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the unsevered tongue
এখনও জিহ্বা অটুট
kabita sinha (1931-1999)>
Versatile poet and literateur. Married author and editor Bimal Choudhury at age 20, against the wishes of her family. Was involved in dissidence movements in the '50s. Addressed issues of woman's place vis-a-vis man in poems like AjIban pAthar pratimA (stone goddess, all my life) or apamAner janya fire Asi ( অপমানের জন্য ফিরে আসি, because I crave your insults). Worked for All India Radio for many years, and edited a number of magazines. Also wrote under the pseudonym Sultana Choudhury.
(sahaj sundarI) | easy beauty 1965
কবিতা পরমেশ্বরী (kavitA paramesvarI) | poetry goddess 1976
হরিণাবৈরী (hariNAbairI) | enemy deer 1985
শ্রেষ্ট কবিতা (shreShTa kabitA ) | selected poems 1987
alone like a Goddess
vijaya mukhopadhyay (1939-)
Born in Bikrampur (near Dhaka) in present-day Bangladesh. Vijaya Mukhopadhyay has been writing poetry since her college days in Calcutta. Her poetry is lyrical, with a lingering memory of many yesterdays, as in তুমি এলে কবিতা (poetry: when you come) below, but it can also be laced with a social consciousness, as in পুঁটিকে সাজে না (not you, Puti), which protests the confines of womanhood. As a Sanskrit researcher and educator, she has also written the widely referred mrichhakaTik samAjchitra (1993), which focuses on social aspects in ancient India. Her poetry has been widely translated, including two books in 1994 and 2000. Most recently, she was honoured as the National Poet by Prasara Bharati in 2004.
(AmAr prabhur janya) | my master, for you 1967
যদি শর্তহীন (Jadi shartahIn) | uncontractual 1971
ভেঙে যআয় অনন্ত বাদাম bheMe Jay ananta bAdAm shelling endless peanuts 1977
উড়ন্ত নামাবলী (uRanta nAmAbalI) | checkercloth airborne 1979
দাঁড়াও তর্জনী (dAmRao tarjanI) | wait, accusing finger 1980
শ্রেষ্ট কবিতা (shreShTa kabitA) | best Poems (1990)
ভাষায় যেটুকু বলা যায় (bhAShAy JeTuku balA JAy) | what can language tell? (2005)
poetry: when you come
debarati mitra (1946-)
Born and educated in Kolkata, Debarati Mitra is a graduate from Jadavpur University, her work is firmly set in the post-modernist canon, with a lyrical allegory permeating much of her writing. Her delicately nuanced abstractions (e.g. memory, an emptiness, ( স্মৃতি বলে কিছু নেই) have been widely acclaimed, and she received the Ananda Puraskar in 1995. Much of her poetry evokes haunting surrealist images, as in jungle starwish ( জঙ্গলের ঘোর) or onomatopoeia in Tung ( টুঙ নামের সমধ্বনি) here. She has a declared dread for all "-isms" and her poetry is largely apolitical on the surface, though many of the metaphors may reflect subtle social issues.
(andhaskule ghanTA bAje)
| a bell rings in the school for the blind (1971)
আমার পুতুল (AmAr putul) | my doll, myself (1974)
যুবকের স্নান (Jubaker snAn) | young man's bath (1978)
ভূতেরা ও খুকি (bhUterA o khuki) | ghosts and my daughter (1988)
জঙ্গলে কাটুল (jangale kATul) | forest woodcutter (1995)
memory, an emptiness
namita chaudhuri (1949-)
Studied Bengali from the University of Jadavpur, (which has three of its alumnii in this selection), and is currently a schoolteacher in Kolkata. Her poetry is invested with a srong social sensitivity (see, e.g. jhulan JAtrA, kanyAke), often expressed with a delicate lyricism (fragmented words). With her husband, she is active in the group called Nandimukh saMsad, which participates in a wide range of literary and artistic activity. Has been involved in the Pakistan-India People's Forum, and is a member of the Kolkata International Foundation. As noted earlier, she is also the person responsible for suggesting the idea of this book.
(durbhikSher jyotsnAy) |
famine moonlight 1983
শুধু তৃষ্ণায় বেড়ে ওঠে (shudhu triShNAy beRe oThe) | rising in thirst 1991
ঝুলন যাত্রা (jhulan jAtrA) | jhulan procession 1996
ঘনিষ্ঠ বসবাস (ghaniShThA basabAs) | cramped living 2000
খঞ্জশব্দ বালিশ বিছানা (khaNjashabda bAlish bichhAnA) | hobbled words and bedding 2005
fragmented words I
the broken-wing alphabets
fragmented words II
every complete word
mallika sengupta (1960-)
A professor of Sociology in Calcutta, Mallika Sengupta's poetry is "unapologetically political". Of her writings, she says: "A woman writing poems is always regarded as a ‘woman poet’ and never as a ‘poet’." While a good deal of her writing focuses on women (e.g. khanaa's song ( খনার গান) , many address broader social issues - e.g. Bhasha( ভাষা) or Bengal Son ( ভূমিপুত্র), which worry about cultural infiltration. She is also active in translation and has also written several novels. She received the Sukanta Puraskar in 1998, and is a frequent invitee to literary events across the world.
taslima nasrin (1962-)
A brutal honesty and fiery sense of outrage marks the work of Taslima Nasrin, and has made her a name a household word across South Asia and much of the West, but also cultivated fierce enemies in the conservative camps and made her an exile from her native Bangladesh. Her poetry has been reviled as unchaste and vulgar, but has gained a wide audience due to their honesty, sensibility, and relentless protest against the patriarchal constraints on women, (see e.g. ( boundary ( সীমানা) or don't listen, girl! (ও মেয়ে শোনো)), and has won the Ananda Puraskar. A gynaecologist by profession, she practised medicine for many years before her literary calling overtook her life. One of the most widely translated Bengali poets, she is also the author of much acclaimed prose, including a series of newspaper columns and an autobiography.
হবার পর সে
mandakranta sen (1972-)
The passion for poetry led her to drop out of the MBBS program at Kolkata Medical College when only the final oral exams were remaining. Published হৃদয় অবাধ্য মেয়ে unruly girl, my heart to wide acclaim in 1999, becoming the youngest recipient of the Ananda Puraskar the same year. Also awarded the Young Writer award from Sahitya Akademi in 2003. Along with her husband Also edits the magazine বৃষ্টিদিন (briShTidin). Poetry reflects original creative conjunctions of everyday experience which is the hallmark of all fine poetry. Some of her poems included here, (e.g. শর্ত (sharta) deal with themes such as desire or loneliness.
(hriday abAdhya meye) | unruly girl, my heart (1999)
ছদ্মপুরাণ (chhadmapurAN) | myths undercover (2001)
এ সবই রাতের চিহ্ণ (e sab-I rAter chihNa) | these marks of night (2002)
বর্ষাফলকে গাঁথা হাড় (barShAfalake gAmthA hAR) | bone impaled on rain-skewers (2004)
একেকটা দিন ভীষণ
nights with my TV
about the translator
amitabha mukerjee was born in Bangkok, schooled in Baghdad, Geneva, India, and the US, worked in New Zealand and German, and yet, somehow, he has managed to become a resolute Bengali. After a PhD from the Universiity of Rochester and a stint teaching at Texas A&M University, he joined I.I.T. Kanpur. By day he teaches Computer Science and researches in the area of Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing. By night, he writes. This book is his first.
Bengali text printed with permission. English text copyright amitabha mukerjee 2005