May 7, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Pioneering Effort to Plumb Underground Poetry of two Bengals

1 min read
Quirkily designed with the Bengal tiger and a stylised image of the local culinary favourite hilsa on the cover, this book, according to one of the editors, offers a heady cocktail of irreverence, idealism and rebellion.

Poets from India and Bangladesh united by a common mother tongue and a long and unbroken legacy of literary giants right from Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam, have come together to present a unique collection of poetry that plumbs the undercurrents of contemporary Bengali verse. Titled The Great Bengali Poetry Underground (pre-order here), this anthology of one hundred poems by ten poets from the sub-continent offers what could be the first creative record of the subterranean streams of a ceaseless literary tradition which stretches back at least to the first cultural Renaissance of modern India. 

`Great art begins underground,’ says novelist Rajat Chaudhuri who has translated the poems and written a lucid and provocative introduction to the book. Singapore based publisher Kitaab which is bringing out this volume in early March is upbeat about poetry. `There is a new audience for poetry that has been growing ever since the pandemic confined us to our homes’ says Zafar Anjum, publisher of Kitaab, `perhaps poems helps us connect better with the improbable times we live in.’

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