Nabina Das pays tribute to legendary avant-garde writer Amrita Pritam …


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Amrita Pritam

October 31st, 2005, fourteen years ago, Amrita Pritam breathed her last. The writer- poetess, who with her avant-garde outlook, was the first woman  to win the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award in 1966. The  Padma Shri followed in 1969 and then the Padma Vibhushan — the second highest Indian civilian award — in 2004 along with the highest literary recognition given to ‘immortals of literature’, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship. Her unconventional stance towards life and powerful writing, the creator of Pinjar, Ajj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu ( Today I Invoke Waris Shah), impacted moderns, like versatile poet, Nabina Das. In these lines, Das jubilates the inspiration provided by Pritam…

 

Love Story between Composing

by Nabina Das

 

You reached

out for the days

of waiting, still-live

cigarette butt-ends

on the expectant

ashtray (the smitten

one) that the Urdu

poet of lilting

lines and starry

fantasies puffed,

calling at you

with coiling capers:

Pick them up, touch

them to your lips

inhale your breath,

phlegm, desire

in and out quick

before someone’s

footfalls come

running in scrutiny

of what’s smoking

between hearts and

long days of wild-

fire imagination

of love’s ink-stained

heart of Amrita Pritam.

 

blue vessel coverThis poem, “Love story Between Composing”, is excerpted from Nabina Das’s first poetry collection Blue Vessel (2012), published by Les Editions du Zaporogue, Denmark, edited by Sebastien Doubinsky.  This particular verse has also been translated to Hindi.

Peg Boyers, poet and director at New York State Summer Writers’ Conference, Skidmore College, wrote in the foreword to Blue Vessels: “Nabina Das’s beautiful poems are a daring blend of modern times avant-garde and traditional motives that sets her as a leading voice among today’s Indian poetry scene.”

Described as a “ crucible, blue with solitude, holding half-music, half-poetry, and everything in between”, the book had been named one of the best books of poetry the year it was published.

 

Bio: Nabina Das is a poet and writer based in Hyderabad, India. Her poetry collections are Sanskarnama, Into the Migrant City, and Blue Vessel. Her first novel is Footprints in the Bajra and her short fiction volume is titled The House of Twining Roses. A Sahapedia-UNESCO fellow, a Commonwealth Writers feature correspondent, a Charles Wallace creative writing fellow and a Sangam House fiction fellow, Nabina teaches Creative Writing in classrooms and workshops.

 

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