Shabdaguchha: Logo


Poetry and Translation:

Aleksey Dayen
Anuradha Mahapatra
Bishnupada Ray
Chanakya Barai
Gail Goldstein
Hassanal Abdullah
Jibanananda Das
John Dotson
Jyotirmoy Datta
Mansur Aziz
Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Naznin Seamon
Nicholas Birns
Robiul Manik
Rasel Ahmed
Rizwanul Islam Rudra
Stanley H. Barkan
Terry Clarke

Prose and Book Review:

Reza Noor
Hassanal Abdullah

Poetry Dialogue:

Trishak Jaldas
Naznin Seamon
Neel Kantho
Khalid Mahmud
Robiul Manik

Letters to the Editor:

Munib Rezwan
Jahangir Babul
Stanley H. Barkan
Rizwanul Islam Rudra
Ravisankar Maitree
Muhammod Muhid
Leigh Harrison

Cover Art:

Nirmalendu Goon

আমরা বাংলা কবিতার বিশ্বায়নে বিশ্বাসী
An International Bilingual Poetry Journal
Celebrating 13 Years of Publication

    Her hair pitch-black, remote as Vidisha's night,
    Her face as if carved at Sravasti,
    As a lost sea-rover adrift in the deep
    Sees the verdant isles of spice...
     —Jibanananda Das (1899-1954)

Shabdaguchha: Issue 49_50
Cover Art by Nirmalendu Goon


Jibanananda Das (1899-1954) was one of the great poets of the modern Bengali literature. Upon reading his enormous contribution, one may also find him as the most important poet of the 20th century world poetry. However, he is very little known among the readers of the Western Hemisphere. Though Clinton B Seely, Professor Emeritus of the South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the Chicago University, spent many years in West Bengal and Bangladesh to know the poet and later published a book, A Poet Apart (1990), on his life and poetry, but most of the translation even as of today, done by Bengali scholars and was published from the East. So, after sixty years of his death, his poetry is not significantly translated for the world readers. Thanks to Prof. Nicholas Birns who came forward with this understanding and translated Jibanananda's most famous poem, Banalata Sen, for Shabdaguchha. This is not the first time this poem is translated into English—the poet himself even did it in the 1940s. Later, Clinton B. Seely and a few others did the same. But Nicholas Birns's translation gives more inside into the poem. Shabdaguchha is happy to present it in this issue.

Aleksey Dayen (1972-2010), a Russian-American poet, was a good friend and a contributor to Shabdaguchha. Like many others, his affiliation with the magazine was through Stanley H. Barkan, poet and publisher, who also published his book, No ! Love (2008). Aleksey also translated poetry to and from Russian into English. It is sad to know that this fine man and a good friend had to leave us at such an early age. We are deeply shocked to the news of his sudden death, but we wish his poetry lives with us forever. It is our pleasure to have some of his poems re-printed in this issue.

December is a very important month for the Bengali community all over the world. Through a terrible genocide that took three millions innocent lives, Bangladesh was liberated on December 16, 1971. Three millions innocent people were killed and about two hundred thousand women were raped in a period of nine months war that took place between the Bengalis and the Pakistani soldiers. Villages after villages were burned, cities were destroyed, bridges and culverts were wiped out. The entire infrastructure of this little nation of the world was torn apart. There was no river that did not carry the corpses. This, as a matter of fact, was the largest killing after the second World War occurring in a short span of time. So, the victory means a lot to Bangladesh and the Bengali speaking people living abroad.
The traitors who brought the military into the villages showing the way have still not been punished. After the liberation, some of them even became part of the government, got chances to wipe out the pillars of secularism by embracing fundamentalism in a greater scale. Petro-dollars and in some cases dollars made them even mightier than ever. But, the present government vowed to bring these traitors to justice after so many years of independence. At the time of the 39th Victory Day celebration, we would hope that these traitors will soon be brought to justice for their vicious act against humanity.

The cover art of this issue is done by Nirmalendu Goon, a well known contemporary Bangladeshi poet. In an e-mail correspondent from Bangladesh, the poet wrote to the editor of Shabdaguchha, "It will be great making the cover of your journal in the month of our blood-earned victory over the enemies, since the artwork is done on that subject." The title, Bijoy 71—Victory 71—fits right with the emotion of this month. Happy Victory Day to everyone! And, oh, yes, Happy New Year 2011!


Poetry in English

Poetry in Bengali

Poetry in Translation

A Tribute to
   Aleksey Dayen

Theory After Theory

Book Review

Poetry Dialogue

To the Editor

Contributors' Bio

শব্দগুচ্ছর এই সংখ্যাটির মুদ্রিত সংস্করণ ডাকযোগে পেতে হলে অনুগ্রহপূর্বক নিচে ক্লিক করে ওয়ার্ডার করুন।

To order for the hardcopy of this issue, please click on the following link:

Get Hardcopy

Shabdaguchha, an International Bilingual Poetry Journal, edited by Hassanal Abdullah