The International Poetry Journal in Bengali and English

Issue 40
April-June '08


Carolyne Wright spent four years on Indo-U.S. Subcommission and Fulbright Senior Research fellowships in Kolkata and Dhaka, Bangladesh, collecting and translating the work of Bengali women poets and writers. For these translations, she has received many grant and fellowships including a Witter Bynner Foundation Grant and a Poetry Translator Residency at the Santa Fe Arts Institute, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Translation, and a Fellowship from the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College. She is on the faculty of the Whidbey Writers' Workshop MFA Program, teaches for Seattle's Richard Hugo House, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) for 2004-2008. Her latest book of translations, Majestic Nights: Love Poems of Bengali Women (White Pine Press, 2008).

Clare Saviola is an art teacher at Washington Irving HS. She has been working for the NYC Department of Education for almost 30 years. Her intersts in art grew at the early age and later it florished while she was an art major at City College. She also studied on Computer Art Techniques. Ms. Saviola is the president of the School Leadership Team.

D. H. Melhem, Ph.D., is the author of seven books of poetry. She also published a novel, Blight, and her musical drama, Children of the House Afire, was produced in New York. Her seventh collection, New York Poems, was published by Syracuse University Press in 2005.

Dilara Hafiz, born in 1955 in Garpara, Manikganj district, East Bengal, received her degrees in Bengali Literature and in Education from Dhaka University, and lives with her husband, renowned Bangladeshi poet Rafiq Azad, and their two sons in Dhaka, where their home is a major meeting place for poets and writers from all over Bangladesh and West Bengal. She teaches at Eden Girls' College in Dhaka and has published several books of poetry.

Farida Sarkar (1957-2005) worked as an announcer for Radio Bangladesh, and government administrator. In 1991, she received a Fulbright Fellowship, and after completing a Ph.D. in English at SUNY Stony Brook, she worked for Voice of America Bangla Service before returning to Dhaka. She died in Dhaka in March 2005 after a long battle with cancer.

George Snedeker teaches at the SUNY/College at Old Westbury. He has published scholarly articles in the areas of literary criticism and sociology as well as short stories and poems. His book, The Politics of Critical Theory, was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2004.

Hassanal Abdullah, a Bangladeshi-American poet, is the editor of Shabdaguchha and the author of 16 books including an epic, Nakhatra O Manusar Prochhad (2007), on the universe and life in it, published by Ananya, Dhaka. Bangla Academy published his Kobiter Chhanda (1997), a book on Bengali poetic styles and rhythms. He introduced a new form of sonnets, Swatantra Sonnet (1998) with seven-line stanzas and abcdabc efgdefg rhyming scheme. Breath of Bengal (2000), his bilingual poetry collection, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications, Merrick, New York. He has also been translated into French and Spanish. Mr. Abdullah works for the NYC Department of Education as a High School math teacher. He was the finalist of the Queens Borough Poet Laureate 2007.

Jahanara Parvin is a Bangladeshi poet of the 90s. She lives in Dhaka and works of the Daily Bhorar Kagoj. She is the author of one collection of poetry and received the Shamsur Rahaman Poetry Award in 2007.

Jalal Uddin Khan, a Bangladeshi, is currently teaching as a professor of English at Qatar University. Previously, he has taught at International Islamic University Malaysia. A graduate of New York University, The American University, and Jahangirnagar University (Bangladesh), Dr. Khan occasionally turns to writing amateurish poems some of which had appeared in some magazines.

Kalikrishna Guha is a Bengali poet and critic. His Selected Poems was published recently from West Bengal, India, which was translated by Gobindachandra Ghosh.

Marian Maddern, an Australian poet. She studied Bengali for six years at the Department of Indian Studies at the University of Melbourne and edited I have Seen Bengal’s Face, a Bengali poetry anthology in English with Sibnarayan Ray in 1974.

Naznin Seamon is a student of English literature at Queens College of CUNY. Her first book of poetry, Adigonta Bistirnoter Dhala (Hollowness in the Horizon), published in February, 2000 and it was reprinted in 2004. Her second book, a collection of short stories, was published in February 2008 from Dhaka by Ananya. She is the recipient of the Shabdaguchha Poetry Award 2007.

Rafiq Azad is the author of 25 collections of poetry including his Collected Poems. He was a freedom fighter in 1971. His poetry reflected his experience of the war. Mr. Azad worked as the director of the Upajati Shangishkriti Kandra, Netrakona in the 90s and taught at the Jahangir Nagar University, Dhaka, as a visiting professor. His latest book in translation, Love, Environment and Other Difficulties (Ittadi, 2008), published on the eve of the 3rd Shabdaguchha Poetry Festival, New York, for which he is the guest of honor.

Rob Frail, the Chief Musical Officer of Shoot The Messenger, is a New York based artist. Alive (published in this issue of Shabdaguchha) has recently scored awards in two national songwriting competitions: Honorable Mention: American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Competition, Nov/Dec 2006 and Finalist: The Great American Song Contest, 2006.

Shah Fazle Rabbi, retired professor of Bengali Literature of Victoria College, Commilla, Bangladesh, now lives in Queens. He regularly contributes articles to the Bengali Weeklies published from New York.

Sibnarayan Ray (1921-2008), poet, scholar, critic, former Professor at Bombay and Melbourne Universities, visiting associate Professor, University of California at Santa Barbara, Research Fellow at London, Frankfurt and Chicago, and the author of over fifty books in both Bengali and English. He has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Hindi and Talagu. Prof. Ray died on Feb 26, 2008 at the age of 87.

Sikder Avik is a 9th grader at the Brooklyn Tech High School. This is his first publication.

Stanley H. Barkan is the editor/publisher of the Cross-Cultural Review Series of World Literature and Art in Sound, Print, and Motion. From Cross-Cultural Communications, he published more than 300 books of poetry in 52 languages from all over the world. In 1976 and 1978, he represented the United States at the Struga Poetry Evenings in Macedonia, and in 1987, he was one of the ten American editors invited by Teddy Kollek to represent the United States at the Jerusalem International Book Fair. He is the author of 5 books of verse and to date, his poetry has been translated into 16 languages. In 1996, Stanley received the Poor Richards Award from the Small Press Center "for a quarter century of high quality publishing." Stanley is the editorial advisor of Shabdaguchha.

Dr. Stephen Stepanchev has inspired several generations of writers who have taken his creative writing classes from 1949 to 1985 at Queens College. As Professor Emeritus of English, he now spends his time writing and reading poems in public places all across the City, and all the more so with his title as the first Poet Laureate of the borough of Queens, an appellation assigned for the period of 1997 through the year 2000. He has published a major critique of American poetry--American Poetry Since 1945, ten collections of poems, and appears regularly in such venues as The New Yorker and Poetry magazines.

Syed Manzoorul Islam, received Ph.D. in English Literature from Queens University, Canada. Returning to Bangladesh, he has been a professor at Dhaka University ever since, serving as English Department Chair, writing (in English as well as Bengali) dozens of critical books and essays, as well as novels and journalism, and traveling abroad to speak for literary conferences. He lives with his family in Dhaka.

Syed Shamsul Huq, a poet, novelist and a well known playwright, who contributed to every field of literature. Mr. Huq lived in London for many years where he worked for the BBC Bangla Radio, and later, after going back to Bangladesh, he took writing as his only profession. Mr. Huq is the author of about 200 titles. His recent collection of poetry Ek Lokhho Nokhhotrer Nichey (Under one Hundred Thousand Stars) published in 2007.

Tino Villanueva has published six books of poetry, including Scene from the Movie GIANT (1993) which won 1994 American Book Award. His chapbook on memory and writing, Primera causa / First Cause, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications, 1999.

Yuyutsu RD Sharma is a distinguished poet and translator of Nepal. He has published seven poetry collections, including, Annapurna Poems (Nirala, 2007), A photographic and Poetic Journey to the Foot of Everest (Epsilonmedia, Germany, 2006) with German photographer Andreas Stimm and recently a translation of Irish poet Cathal O’ Searcaigh poetry in Nepali in a bilingual collection entitled, Kathmandu: Poems: Selected and New, 2006. He has translated and edited several anthologies of contemporary Nepali poetry in English and launched a literary movement, Kathya Kayakalpa (Content Metamorphosis) in Nepali poetry.

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    Shabdaguchha, A Bilingual Journal of Poetry, Published in New York, Edited by Hassanal Abdullah.