Bangla-American Poetry Project

Poetry is dream, dance, song, prayer; the keeper of language and languages; sanctuary from profit; sanity’s ancestor; the portal to more worlds; drain in the swamp of misinformation; thorn in the buttock of the thoughtless; the healing elder in the garden of literature; the practice of the useless; bringer of the real news; is, to borrow from Les Murray, learning human; is, to paraphrase Muriel Rukeyser, to reach, to touch, to begin to know one another.

B“APP,” The Bangla “American Poetry Project,” published by Parantap Chakraborty in Rabindranath Tagore’s Sanitiketan, West Bengal, and edited by Christoph Keller, located in New York and St. Gallen, Switzerland, is dedicated to bringing the best American poetry to India, as well as a sense of Bangla to America. B“APP” books are printed on fine paper in handsome hardcovers in Kolkata, translated by the finest Bangla poets and scholars, with cover art by Indian artists. The first few are by Debika Datta. These volumes are originals, selected and new poems chosen by the poet, where possible.

The first three volumes, published in April 2019, are by June Jordan, Joan Larkin, Anne Marie Macari and Jean Valentine’s Lucy (vol. 0). Forthcoming are titles by Yesenia Montilla, Alicia Ostriker, Jan Heller Levi, Bob Holman, Sarah van Arsdale, Kimiko Hahn, Gerald Stern, Countee Cullen, Rachel Eliza Griffith, and others.

কবিতা একটা স্বপ্ন, নাচের ছন্দ, গান নাকি প্রার্থনা? এক এবং একাধিক ভাষার আধার, লাভক্ষতির হিসেবের মাঝখানে একটুকরো মরুদ্যান, অন্য পৃথিবীতে যাওয়ার দরজা, ভুলতথ্যের এঁদোডোবায় বহমানতার প্রশ্রয়। বোকাদের পিছনে ফোটা কাঁটা। লেস মারির ভাষায় মানুষকে জানা, মিউরিয়েল রুকাইসারের শব্দ ধার করলে তার অর্থ দাঁড়ায় হাত বাড়ানো, ছুঁয়ে দেখা, একে অপরকে চিনতে শুরু করা।

বাংলা আমেরিকান কবিতা প্রকল্পটি প্রকাশিত হতে চলেছে শান্তিনিকেতনের বীরুৎজাতীয় সাহিত্য সম্মিলনী থেকে, এই প্রকল্পের সম্পাদক ক্রিস্টফ কেলার থাকেন সুইজারল্যান্ড-এর সেন্ট গ্যালেন আর নিউ ইয়র্কে অদলবদল করে। পৃথিবীর দুই প্রান্ত থেকে প্রকাশক পরন্তপ চক্রবর্তী আর সম্পাদক ক্রিস্টফ কেলার চেষ্টা করে যাচ্ছেন সমসাময়িক আমেরিকান কবিতাকে বাংলার পাঠকের হাতে পৌঁছানোর। কবিতাগুলি মূলত কবিদের বেছে দেওয়া এবং নতুন লেখা কবিতা। এই পর্যায়ের বইগুলি ছাপা এবং বাঁধানো হচ্ছে কলকাতায়। প্রতিটি প্রচ্ছদের ছবি আঁকছেন ভারতীয় শিল্পীরা, প্রথম কয়েকটি দেবিকা দত্তের আঁকা।

JUNE JORDAN (1936-2002) was an American poet, activist, essayist and teacher. Prolific and passionate, Jordan was the author of twenty-eighth major works of poetry, fiction and essays, as well as numerous children’s books. She traveled widely to read her poems and to proclaim a vision of liberation for all people. Dynamic, rebellious and courageous, June Jordan was, and still is, a lyrical catalyst for change. In 2005, Jan Heller Levi and Sara Miles edited Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems by June Jordan, and in 2017, Levi co-edited, with Christoph Keller, We’re On: A June Jordan Reader, both excellent introductions to Jordan’s work. Only Our Hearts Will Argue Hard presents the reader with her most famous, most powerful work of poetry.

Joan Larkin’s most recent book is Blue Hanuman (Hanging Loose Press, 2014). Previous work includes My Body: New and Selected Poems (Hanging Loose Press, 2007), which received the Audre Lorde Award; Housework (Out and Out Books, 1975); A Long Sound (Granite Press, 1986); Sor Juana’s Love Poems, translated with Jaime Manrique (Painted Leaf Press, 1997); and Legs Tipped with Small Claws, (Argos , 2012). Cold River (Painted Leaf Press, 1997), recipient of the Lambda poetry award, was the basis for her play The AIDS Passion, staged at the Huntingdon Theater in Boston. Joan has taught at Brooklyn College, Sarah Lawrence, and Drew University’s MFA program in poetry, among others, most recently as Writer in Residence at Smith College. Her honors include the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award and the Academy of American Poets Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement, as well as National Endowment and New York Foundation for the Arts awards. A long-time resident of Brooklyn, New York, Larkin currently lives in southern Arizona, where she is working on a new manuscript. Her website is www. joanlarkin.com

Anne Marie Macari is the author of four books of poetry, including Red Deer (Persea Books, 2015) and She Heads Into the Wilderness (Autumn House, 2008). In 2000 Macari won the APR/Honickman first book prize for Ivory Cradle, which was followed by Gloryland (Alice James Books, 2005). She has also coedited, with Carey Salerno, Lit From Inside: 40 Years of Poetry From Alice James Books.

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