India mainly sits on a vast peninsula in Southern Asia, surrounded by the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. In the north, it borders countries including Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and China. Its diverse geography includes a plateau region to the south, flat-to-rolling plains along the Ganges river, and the Himalayan mountain range to the north.
Hindi is the official and main link language of India with a further 22 languages recognised by the Indian Constitution. There is no national language with over 120 languages spoken throughout India.
3,166,391 square kilometres
H. E. Mr. Vikram K. Doraiswami
1947 following independence from Britain
Award Winning Poet
Sudeep Sen’s prize-winning books include Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems (HarperCollins), Rain, Ladakh, Aria (A. K. Ramanujan Translation Award), The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (editor), Fractals: New & Selected Poems | Translations 1980-2015 (London Magazine Editions), EroText (Vintage: Penguin Random House), Kaifi Azmi: Poems | Nazms (Bloomsbury). Anthropocene: Climate Change, Contagion, Consolation (Pippa Rann). The Whispering Anklets and Blue Nude: Ekphrasis & New Poems (Jorge Zalamea International Poetry Prize) are forthcoming. He is the editorial director of AARK ARTS, editor of Atlas. Sen is the first Asian honoured to deliver the Derek Walcott Lecture and read his poetry at the Nobel Laureate Festival. The Government of India awarded him the senior fellowship for “outstanding persons in the field of culture/literature.”
Sudeep’s recent collection Anthropocene focuses on today’s most urgent and important topics: Climate Change and pandemics – and the possibility of consolation. It is part of a trilogy of work. Available at: https://pipparannbooks.com/product/anthropocene
Without translation, I would be limited to the borders of my own country. The translator is the most important ally.
– Italo Calvino
My typewriter is multilingual,
its keys mysteriously calibrating
my bipolar, forked tongue.
Black-red silk ribbon spools, unwind
as the carriage moves right to left.
In cursive hand, I write from left to right.
My tongue was born promiscuous —
speaking in many languages.
My heart spoke another, my head
yet another — the translation, seamless.
Auricles, ventricles pump blood —
corpuscle-like alphabets, phrases, syntax
cross-fertilize my text, breathing life.
Texture enriched — music, cadence
spatially enhanced — osmotic,
polyglottal — a polygamy of grammar.
Letterforms dance, ligatures pirouette —
ascenders, descenders — pitch perfect.
Imagination isn’t caged in speech —
speech cannot be caged in language.
My body carved from abandoned bricks of a ruined temple,
from minaret-shards of an old mosque,
from slate-remnants of a medieval church apse,
from soil tilled by my ancestors.
My bones don’t fit together correctly as they should —
the searing ultra-violet light from Aurora Borealis
patches and etch-corrects my orientation —
magnetic pulses prove potent.
My flesh sculpted from fruits of the tropics,
blood from coconut water,
skin coloured by brown bark of Indian teak.
My lungs fuelled by Delhi’s insidious toxic air
echo asthmatic sounds, a new vinyl dub-remix.
Our universe — where radiation germinates from human follies,
where contamination persists from mistrust,
where pleasures of sex are merely a sport —
where everything is ambition,
everything is desire, everything is nothing.
Nothing and everything.
White light everywhere,
but no one can recognize its hue,
no one knows that there is colour in it — all possible colours.
Body worshipped, not for its blessing,
but its contour —
artificial shape shaped by Nautilus.
Skin moistened by L’Oreal
and not by season’s first rains —
skeleton’s strength not shaped by earthquakes
or slow-moulded by fearless forest-fires.
Ice-caps are rapidly melting — too fast to arrest glacial slide.
In the near future — there will be no water left
or too much water that is undrinkable,
excess water that will drown us all.
Disembodied floats, afloat like Noah’s Ark —
no GPS, no pole-star navigation, no fossil fuel to burn away —
just maps with empty grids and names of places that might exist.
Already, there is too much traffic on the road —
unpeopled hollow metal-shells without brakes,
swerve about directionless — looking for an elusive compass.