Nuance, longing and poetic repartée

In tribute: (top) Jeet Thayil, Karthika Naïr, Jane Bhandari, Ranjit Hoskote, Mustansir Dalvi and Menka Shivdasani read out Chandak Chattarji’s translations Six walked into a bookstore read Bengali poetry. For most people, this is not a sentence that inspires an adrenaline rush. Irrespective language, a poetry reading is be approached with caution. It can either be enriching or make you reach for the hip flask in the hope that glugging will not just make the event more bearable, but also help disguise your eye-rolling. No one in the audience for the launch of Six Bangla Poets , a slim volume of poetry translated by retired educationist Chandak Chattarji, seemed have a hip flask. The setting was the beautiful Kitab Khana in the city’s Fort district, a wood-panelled, book-lined oasis in a city of vanishing spines and bookshops. Chattarji’s translations would be read out by six poets: Jeet Thayil, Karthika Naïr, Jane Bhandari, Ranjit Hoskote, Mustansir Dalvi and Menka Shivdasani. While poetry’s popularity grown online, this is rarely in the offline world of book events and sales. The audience for Six Bangla Poets was mostly made up of friends and familiars. […]

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