‘Morning is the utmost tree’

September 16, 2017

I have been translating Joy Goswami’s prose poetry for some time now (this after the publication of Selected Poems by Harper Perennial in 2014, which went on to be shortlisted for the inaugural Khushwant Singh Memorial Prize for Poetry and garnered Joy Goswami the first Poet Laureateship initiated and awarded by the Tata Literature Live! Festival)… slowly working towards publication in the hopefully not-too-distant future. A delight, then, to have two poems from his latest book (Whiplash, Signet 2017) featured in the India Issue of MPT (Modern Poetry in Translation): Songs of the Shattered Throat. As I wrote in my introductory note to the poems, in these poems “I found a new music; new levels of rage and compassion, awareness and warning.”


Additional delight in the fact that MPT also chose three of my translations of the young Hindi poet Monika Kumar, whom I first met at a translation workshop organized by Literature Across Frontiers in Chandigarh in November 2016. Hearing her read her poems in the original (and seeing how beautifully they travelled into languages such as Slovenian, Galician and Maltese) made me want to work in collaboration with her on fresh new English versions, one of which you can read here.

And because good things come in threes, so happy that the Malayalam poet Anitha Thampi’s poem ‘Allapuzha Vellam‘ (fabulously translated by J Devika), which I featured in my debut issue as Poetry Editor of the Indian Quarterly (IQ), found a place in this special issue of MPT, the two journals joint-publishing it for the first time, almost-simultaneously in India and the UK.

IQ is one of the few print magazines that makes room for poetry, and it’s been a real pleasure curating my pages. Apart from Anitha, who is based in Thiruvananthapuram, I featured the Estonian poet, Doris Kareva translated by Miriam McIlfatrick-Ksenofontov; and new poems in English by Mona Zote (Aizawl), K. Srilata (Chennai), Aditi Angiras (Delhi). And at Chief Editor Madhu Jain’s invitation, I also wrote a small feature investigating what is being described as a “poetry resurgence” in India. Happy reading!



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