The International Poetry Journal in Bengali and English

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
Pushcart Prize

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."

Shabdaguchha Award 2007

Naznin Seamon, a poet of the 1990's and the author of one collection of poetry, has been announced as the recipient of the Shabdaguchha Poetry Award 2007 in postmodern Bengali Poetry. She will receive 200 dollars and a crest from Shabdaguchha, the international bilingual poetry quarterly. Shabdaguchha Press will also publish a book of her. This year, the three other nominees were Jahanara Parvin(Dhaka), Ahana Biswas(India) and Anisur Rahman Apu(New York).

Seamon is a significant voice of the Bengali poetry, living in New York since 1997 and pursuing her higher education in English literature at Queens College of the City University of New York. Her first book of short stories is scheduled to be published in February, 2008 from Dhaka by Ananya.

On the evening of the 37th Victory Day Anniversary of Bangladesh, 16th December, 2007, the award was announced by the poet and the editorial advisor of Shabdaguchha, Stanley H. Barkan. Along with the Victory Day celebration, the magazine also celebrated the 99th birthday of Buddhadeva Bose (1908-1974), a great modernist poet of Bengal, through poetry reading and literary discussion at the magazine's office, in Queens, New York, prior to the announcement of the award. Stanley H Barkan, Prof. Nicholas Birns, Bebe Barkan, Shah Fazle Rabbi, Hassanal Abdullah, Jahed Ahmed, Anisur Rahman Apu, Ekok Soubir and the recipient of the award, Naznin Seamon were the participants of the poetry reading and the literary discussion of the evening.

Another Translated Issue of Shabdaguchha

The 39th issue of Shabdaguchha, an international bilingual poetry quarterly, is in the market now. This is a special issue that presented 32 poets of Bangladesh from the 40s to the 90s in English translation. The guest editor of the issue is Prof. Nicholas Birns of New School University. The poems are translated by Hassanal Abdullah.

The 32 contributors are Ahsan Habib, Shamsur Rahman, Hasan Hafizur Rahman, Syed Shamsul Huq, Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal, Al Mahmud, Shaheed Quaderi, Sikder Aminul Haque, Rafique Azad, Nirmalendu Goon, Humayun Azad, Helal Hafiz, Abul Hasan, Abid Azad, Nasir Ahmed, Rudro Muhammad Shahidullah, Abu Hasan Shahriar, Kamal Choudhury, Nasima Sultana, Khondakar Ashraf Hossain, Maruf Raihan, Raja Hasan, Taslima Nasrin, Ruksana Rupa, Hassanal Abdullah, Tushar Gayen, Baitullah Quaderee, Rahman Henry, Tokon Thaakoor, Alfred Khokon, Shamim Reza and Naznin Seamon.

The first translated issue was published in 2000, that was the 9th issue of the magazine. It included 19 poets of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. As also the 9th issue, the 39th issue is published in co-operation with Cross-Cultural Communications and it is available at The ISBN of this issue is 0-89304-013-4.

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

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.

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