In conversation with Poet Kiriti Sengupta

 

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Rituals is a remarkable collection of poems by renowned poet, translator, editor and critic Kiriti Sengupta. This latest book explores the panoply of human experience and elucidates the meanings and rhythms of a mature poetic life. “Customs are like meditation,” writes Sengupta as he weaves religious liturgy and the opera of gods as the quotidian backdrop of a married life and experiences with his son. Not just interested in the matter of appearances as a poet, he delves into questions of what makes an Indian and how Hindu goddesses can strengthen willpower and remove the ‘venom’ from life. The mythological and the quotidian blend and inform one another, the goddess appears in iterations of the wife, the daughter, the mother. These poems also talk about Monsoon and Muri as snacks that overlap with dialogues of intellect and Sanskrit.

Themes such as nakedness and nudity are explored from the point of view of youth and maturity. Striking imagery marks the passing of time on everyday objects where the speaker can now stop and observe the beauty of human traces on life, “My tired eyes uncover the kohl of night.” The speaker is not only interested in contemplating the beauty of everyday moments but also faces his reader with the violence of the modern world, in the poem “The Untold Saga” the violence of a mythological world mirrors the violence on women practiced often in the 21stcentury, offering a powerful statement on the untimely death of Nirbhaya in 2012. These poems are also meditations on our place in the world as humans, the vastness of the Earth compared to our frail bodies with the invitation to reconnect to the natural world.

 

 

ABOUT THE POET :

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Kiriti Sengupta, who has been awarded the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize (2018) for his contribution to literature, is a poet, editor, translator, and publisher from Calcutta. He has published ten books of poetry and prose, including Rituals, Solitary Stillness, Reflections on Salvation, The Earthen Flute, A Freshman’s Welcome, Healing Waters Floating Lamps, The Reverse Tree, My Dazzling Bards, My Glass of Wine, The Reciting Pens, and The Unheard I; two books of translation, Desirous Water by Sumita Nandy, Poem Continuous—Reincarnated Expressions by Bibhas Roy Chowdhury; and he is the co-editor of five anthologies, Scaling Heights, Jora Sanko–The Joined Bridge, Epitaphs, Sankarak, and Selfhood. Sengupta’s poems have been published/accepted for publication at The Common, The Florida Review Online (Aquifer), Headway Quarterly, Moria Online, The Mark Literary Review, Mad Swirl, among other places. More at www.kiritisengupta.com

 

INTERVIEW :

1) If you had to describe your journey into the literature field until now how would you describe it in three words?
Approaching the light!
2) Rituals your new poetry book, the making of it and all that you went through can you describe it in one word?
Labour
3) Your recently learnt new favourite word?
Illume
4) What is that one thing you believe keeps us breathing even in this Chaos?
Oxygen
5) Your most favourite poem in the
book?
The Stepwell

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