(The publication of Sampurna’s translations of Joy Goswami would seem an ideal time to revive this blog for World Losers. I like to think it could cover all the translation, travel and poetic activities of the original Adishakti Crew, augmented by losers encountered along the Way and in the enveloping passageways of the Great Labyrinth. But then, I like to think…)
I’ve waiting for this book for more than a decade, ever since first encountering hints, descriptions and single poems by this foremost of the Bengali poets. Joy Goswami is one of those writers you dream of encountering in translation, concealed to your eyes within another language, but the common property of every delighted reader of that language; capable of transforming both your imagination, and the way you imagine poetry.
Bangla, in the figure of Tagore, has already proven itself to be one of poetry’s world languages, and Goswami does not disappoint by comparison. In these compulsively rhythmic and readable translations by Sampurna Chattarji, all the melodious, dextrous invention of his language is conveyed, as well as his unique eye, which flashes from the visionary to the slightest, subtlest detail, within a single phrase.
From elegy and love poem to vivid cityscape and the pastoral vistas of Bengal, he is a master of the sustained flight, the recurring symbol, and an effortless opening out of the quotidian to reveal its extraordinary interior.