Joy Goswami: Selected Poems

2014. Translated from the Bengali. Edited and with introductory essay by Roald Hoffman. 176 pages. Softcover.

JOY GOSWAMI is widely regarded as one of India's most original poets, perhaps the best now writing in Bengali in a land of poets. Taken into English by several translators, this is the first US book-length publication of his poems. Prolific (the author of more than 30 volumes of poems, as well as 5 novels and many essays) and politically engaged, Goswami, born in 1954, received the Sahitya Academy Award from India's National Academy of Letters, as well as many recognitions in his native West Bengal.

The prime feature of the verses of this brilliant Bengali poet is its abundant, leaping imagery. Devasting imagery of war recurs in Goswami's poems; yet the poems are full of the joy of life. What astounds is the killing freshness of his words, and how it flows in and out of the

ordinary world. There is also in his poems a self-deprecating, honest wit. One could just float on Goswami's criss-crossing images, savor them on second reading, and hear his crisp and penetrantwords. But then one is brought up by meaning - for Joy's words are not just words but make sense. We know, for that is his metier', that their meaning cuts the poet. And cuts through to the center of our emotional universe. Joy Goswami's world is fiercely private. But he does not keep us out, this wonderful poet.

ROALD HOFFMANN is a chemist and writer at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Aside from the science, he writes nonfictions, plays, and poetry - six books of his verse have been published, the latest being 'Soliton'.


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