An Evening with Bengali Poetry at the New School University
A group of distingued poets and professors got together to enjoy an evening with Bengali Poetry on Friday, April 25, 2008, from 7 pm to 9:30 pm, at the New School University. It was organized by Shabdaguchha, an international bilingual poetry journal, to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The editor of the magazine, Hassanal Abdullah, a poet and author of 16 books, welcomed everyone to the event by saying, “We started the magazine 10 years ago to make a bridge between the poets of the East and the West. We have traveled far with the mission, but we still have to go farther.” Stanley H. Barkan, Nicholas Birns, Jyotirmoy Datta, Tushar Gayen, Naznin Seamon, Yuyutsu RD Sharma, Samuel Menashe, Minakshi Datta, and Ekok Soubir were the other presenters of the evening. The readers mostly read from Shabdaguchha #39, which is the Contemporary Poets of Bangladesh issue.
Stanley H. Barkan, poet and the publisher of Cross-Cultural Communications, read poems by Nirmolendu Goon and Kamal Chowdhury from this issue, followed by two poems of his own. Prof. Nicholas Birns, who teaches at Eugene Lang College, the New School University, and guest edited the Shabdaguchha #39, elaborated his discussion on Modern and Postmodern Bengali poetry and read poems by Shamsur Rahman, Humayun Azad, and Rafique Azad from the magazine. In his speech, he said, “Although there was great modern poetry in, say, Arabic (Taha Hussein, Khalil Gibran) and Urdu (Mohammed Iqbal), there was not an organized 'Modernism' in the Arab world or in the rest of British-ruled India, as there was in Bengal. This makes Bangladeshi postmodernism different from poetry written in the Middle East or South Asia in a postmodern times.” Jyotirmoy Datta, poet and journalist, and Minakshi Datta, writer, came from New Jersey for the event. Mr. Datta, the advising editor of Shabdaguchha, illustrated the history of Bengali Poetry from the time of the great Budhadeva Bose and praised Hassanal for continuing with the magazine for 10 years. He also presented two of his own poems along with one of Hassanal Abdullah’s poems. Minakshi Datta read poetry by her father, Budhadeva Bose, in Bangla text.
Yuyutsu Rd Sharma, a Nepali poet, who is now visiting New York, presented Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Laureate of 1913, from the book, After Tagore, which he edited, and Syed Shamsul Huq from Shabdaguchha, along with his own poetry. It was rather a surprise for the organizer of the event to have the presence of the "Neglected Master Award Winner" (2004), presented by the National Poetry Foundation, Samuel Menashe, who read from his latest book, Collected Poems. Tushar Gayen and Nanzin Seamon, who are now living in New York and pursuing their graduate study at CUNY, also read from their own work in translation.
It was an stimulating event on Bengali Poetry with a dedicated audience. The program was moderated by the editor, who invited everyone to a day-long follow-up event, the "Third Shabdaguchha Poetry Festival," on June 14, 2008, at PS 112, Asotira, Queens.
Special Bengali refreshments were served at the end.
Nomination for the
The editor of Shabdaguchha, Hassanal Abdullah has been nominated for the
2009 Pushcart Prize. He was nominated for his poem, When God is Dead,
by Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan, the editor of Long Island Sound:
An Anthology of Poetry( The North Sea Poetry Scene Press, 2008).
In a letter to Hassanal Abdullah, she wrote, "Your poem is an outstanding
piece and is worthy of such an award."
A VOA Tribute to Humayun Azad
Voice of American remembers Dr. Humayun Azad on his fourth death anniversary in a special program. The program is created by Shameem Chawdhury with some commentary from Latifa Kahinoor, Dr. Azad's wife, and Hassanal Abdullah, the editor of Shabdaguchha. Though the program is recorded in Bengali, the webpage is written in English.
Poet Rafiq Azad Interviewed by VOA
Rafiq Azad, one of the leading Bangladeshi Poets, attended the poetry festival that marked the tenth anniversary of Shabdaguchha, an International Poetry Journal. He also launched a collection of his translated poems, Love Environment and Other Difficulties, from the festival. Please click on the following link and find his recent interview with Shahmeem Chawdhury of the Voice of America (VOA) Bangla Radio. The interview is in Bengali, but the non-Bengali speaking people will get the summary in English. The listed site is http://voanews.com/bangla/2008-07-01-voa5.cfm
Naznin Seamon Speaks with VOA
The assistant editor of Shabdaguchha, Naznin Seamon, poet and a short story writer, was recently interviewed by the Voice of American Bangla Radio for her new book, Prototo Raktakto Chitker. She was speaking with the radio journalist, Shaheem Chawdhury. Though the interview is in Bengali, the webpage is constracted in English.
Hassanal Abdullah Talks about His Epic
On Sept 15, 2007, Hassanal Abdullah was interviewed by the Voice of America (VOA) Bangla Radio. In this exclusive interview with Shameem Chawdhury, Hassanal was talking about his latest book, Nakahtra O Mahushar Proched, an epic on the universe and life in it, published by Ananya, Dhaka, 2007. The interview is available at VOA.