The International Poetry Journal in Bengali and English

Issue 40
April-June '08

Letters to the Editor:

Sibnarayan Ray, a great humanist, died on Feb 26, 2008

Dear Hassanal,

Prof. Sibnarayan Ray died on February 26, 2008 at his Santiniketan residence at about 11 AM. It was supposedly a painless death after having shaved and taken his small breakfast. His assotiation enriched us tremendously—a position you can apprecite maybe more than I do. We will join a meeting on 13 at our Bangla Akademi to remember him. Thank you for your efforts.

Kalikrishna Guha, Kolkata

Dear Hassanal,

I'm so sorry to learn of the death of Prof. Sibnarayan Ray. His writings no doubt have touched many lives and will continue to do so in the immortality of the book. It is truly Humanity's loss! When comes such another?


Stanley H. Barkan, New York

Dear Hassanal,

You have my deep condolences.


D. H. Melhem, New York

Dear Hassanal Abdullah,

I owe you an apology for not replying to your kind e-mail on time. This was not due to any deliberate negligence on my part but the fact that my e-mail service was in disorder (it stil is). I was very happy to note that you observed a commemorative programme on Shibnarayan Ray. Despite ideological differences I had great regards for his scholarship and his literary judgement. He is the one who was able to evaluate Rabindranath Tagore objectively and was not carried away by Bengali sentiment. The tribe of cultiuvated people with multidisciplinary interests to which Sibnarayan Ray belonged, is dwindling fast. Politically of course his views were poles apart from those of ours. A further surprise for me was that my friend poet Tushar Gayen was among those present. Is he in the US? He was living in Canada. Should you meet him, please give him my regards. Sincerely,

Zakeria Shirazi, Dhaka

Shabdaguchha, its events and poetry

Dear Hassanal Abdullah,

I have received the new issue of your magazine, Shabdaguchha, and have read it with pleasure. It gave me a wonderful experience of recent Bangladeshi poetry. I found the poems strange and familiar at the same time, like the mirrors of consciousness of friends. Thank you.


Stephen Stepanchev, New York

Dear Hassanal,

Thank you for coming to see me. I am sorry that I could not give you much time, however I wished to, as I was extremely busy with my writing that morning. I am sure there would be occassion in future to talk at greater length. I am impressed with the quality of your translations and also with the overall quality of the magazine. I will look forward to future issues of Shabdaguchha.

As for translation of my poems I can only depend on poets like you who has the pen as well as vision for Bangla poetry. Please keep me posted about your event in April. I will try to fit in my visit to the USA with your poetry evening. Affectionately yours,

Syed Shamsul Haq, Dhaka

Dear Hassanal,

You should be proud of yourself! You're doing an important job—perhaps the only such accomplishment in the U.S. I'm proud to be associated with you. I recall your translating poems from Rest in Love into Bengali (or is it Bangla, now, as Robert Dunn tells me?). Whichever, I congratulate you on your dedication and stamina! I'll be very happy to have a poem or poems published in Shabdaguchha after the next issue, in your 40th, which will be [the 10th] anniversary. Take good care, dear friend. Warmest wishes,

D. H. Melhem, New York

Dear Hassanal,

Congratulations! It was apparently a successful as well as very worthwhile event. Glad to see that Stanley Barkan remains the supportive champion of your valuable work.

D. H. Melhem, New York

Dear Hassanal,

I feel very proud that the commemoration of pro-Shibnaryan Solemnised under your hegemony. I have given copies of the press release to our College Library. It has been kept in the Magazine and the Daily Bulletin shelves. Hundreds of students read it everyday. The few also said, “We have seen that very long haired man in the Book Fair.” I assured them that they recognized the right person.

I enjoyed the news of the Evening with Bengali Poetry' and I believe that the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Shabdaguchha is a literary milestone. Your pioneer role in this respect must enable you to form a bridge between the East and the West. Thanks,

Tahazzu Hossain, Dhaka

Dear Hassanal Abdullah,

I am a new fan of shabdaguchha and I have been reading it. I actually liked the edition of Shabdaguchha before the last one. But I was disgusted by the last issue.

In your poem, you made poets seem like gods. The poem "Finding the Difference" was one of the worst poems I have ever read. Poets should not be compared with gods. Gods have a lot of power but poets can’t do anything but write poems. The last edition was very bad, especially the English poems by you. But I enjoyed the ones by Robert Dunn. I hope you stop thinking of poets as gods. Please reply me and let me know if I said anything wrong. I will be waiting for your reply and the next issue of Shabdaguchha.

Ali Zakir, New York

Ekushey and other issues

Dear Sir,

I am from Bangalore. It’s quite difficult to write something in Bengali (Bengali letters), due to lack of work. And it’s a shameful matter to me. I have a habit to write Bengali & Urdu poetry, it will be great if you publish my poetry in your Magazine.

With warm regards,

Sandipan Chakraborty, India

Dear Hassanal Bhai,

This year in Melbourne, we are observing Ekushey [The International Mother Language Day] with a day long program; cultural activists from all over Australia will participate. To mark the day, we are also publishing an Ekushey Sangkolan.

Please send an Article for the Magazine at your earliest convenience.

Thanks. Regards

Kamruzzaman Balark, Melbourne

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