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Sudeep Sen at Mulfran Press

image by Frances KiernanCelebrating ARIA: poetry, art and music

A multilingual evening of poetry, art and music featuring ARIA was held at The Nehru Centre of The Indian High Commission (8 Audley Street, London W1K 1HF) at 6:30pm Wednesday 29 June 2011. Sudeep Sen was accompanied by co-contributors Jenny Lewis (preface) and Frances Kiernan (art); plus George Szirtes, Jane Draycott, William Radice, Sangeeta Datta, Mukulika Banerjee, Shirin Razavian, Natasha Dabeski and Leona Medlin. The programme was followed by a reception and cocktails. A large audience enjoyed this most convivial evening.

About Sudeep Sen

Widely recognised as a major new generation voice in world literature and "one of the finest younger English-language poets in the international literary scene" (BBC Radio), Sudeep Sen "is fascinated not just by language but the possibilities of language" (Scotland on Sunday). His prize-winning books include: Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems (HarperCollins), Distracted Geographies, Rain, Letters of Glass, Ladakh, and the forthcoming Blue Nude: Poems & Translations 1977-2012 (Jorge Zalamea International Poetry Award). He has edited several important anthologies, including The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry. His words have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, Guardian, Observer, Independent, Financial Times, London Magazine, Literary Review, Harvard Review, Telegraph, Hindu, Outlook, India Today, and broadcast on BBC, PBS, CNN IBN, NDTV & AIR. Senís recent work appears in New Writing 15 (Granta) and Language for a New Century (Norton). He is the editorial director of AARK ARTS and editor of Atlas [www.atlasaarkarts.net].

reviews of the Indian edition of Aria

"In this artfully put together anthology, Sen translates from many languages. Sen's own translation of Jibanananda Das's Banalata Sen is luminous enough to carry the whole book".
Arshia Sattar, Outlook India

"… Aria, poetry translations by the marvelous Sudeep Sen came as a whiff of fresh air. Aria, which contained works by [poets] from Tagore to Gulzar, turned out to be an elegant, lyrical and ingenious volume that transcended continents, gender, languages …"
Sunil K Poolani, Frog Books blog

"These translations are from various Indian languages, such as Bengali, Urdu and Hindi, that Sen knows, as well as from languages he has read (and translated) in collaboration with the original poet. The latter type of translation flings the net very wide, from Hebrew and Persion to Icelandic and Korean. Taken together, this is a captivating selection of world and Indian poetry, translated by an active poet who evidently cares for poetry and—what is unusual—other poets scribbling away in the wilderness of prose."
Tabish Khair, Mint / The Wall Street Journal

"In this superlative book of translations, Sen uses his gifts as a poet, linguist, cosmopolitan traveller and observer to conjure, in Coleridge's phrase, the 'best words in their best order.' The result is a fine collection of poetry which takes the best from classical and modern traditions and integrates them into a stunning whole."
Jenny Lewis, Molossus


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ARIA | ANIKA translations and new poems by Sudeep Sen

front cover pictureIn Aria, Sen turns his attention to translation and magically conjures the multiple voices of his homeland, India, as well as illuminating poetry from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South America in a way that the celebrated poet, film director, and Oscar-winning lyricist Gulzar, describes as “tying up a bunch of subtle fragrances” in an “elegant and precise” manner.

This remarkable book of over 100 poems in translation displays Sen’s gift for combining erudition with an extraordinary delicacy of touch and sensitivity toward the original poems, expertly covering a wide range of styles, practices and geographies.

"The work of translation is the work of comprehension, or rather the building up of a network of comprehensions. It enables people of different languages to share something that lies at the heart of human experience, which is the transformation of experience into language. Sudeep has constructed a community of voices, a properly wideranging community, where true poems find proper echoes in the common cave of a new language. A mammoth work and a real
achievement."
George Szirtes

This Mulfran Press edition is substantially expanded, containing over fifty new English poems by Sudeep Sen as well as one new translated poem. Sen's own work is a powerful and poignant poetry of love, loss, celebration, grief, art, dance, politics, and history — deftly weaving teh subtle architecture of life and living.

ARIA | ANIKA, Sudeep Sen
188 pages, £11.99, ISBN 978-1-907327-03-2

[also available from Amazon]

Accompanist
Accompanying the main singer’s monolith-weighted voice
His own is beautiful delicate and quavering
He is the singer’s younger brother
Or his apprentice
Or a distant relative who travels on foot to learn
Under the main singer’s baritone
He matches his own echo since old times
Singing the second verse through tone’s intricate jungle
Lost in
The scale’s unstruck note
Straying into the scale’s further reaches
It is the accompanist who keeps the theme steady
Like gathering up the main singer’s left-behind objects
Like reminding him of his childhood
When he was just a novice
In the higher registers when the singer’s voice gives way
Inspiration leaving him fervour fading
His voice shedding ash-like
It is then that blending with the main singer
Appears from somewhere the accompanist’s tone
Sometimes he simply sings to join in
To remind the singer that he is not alone
And that once again the song can be sung
The same raga that has already been sung
And in his voice the faltering that is audible
Or his voice’s attempt at not raising the high notes
This shouldn’t be taken as his incompetence
But his own humanity.

Manglesh Dabral
Translated from Hindi