352pp, Rs 650; Classix
One of my favourite poets, Robert Frost says, “Poetry is back an affect has begin its anticipation and the anticipation has begin words.” Reading Sudeep Sen through his interviews, the accuracy of these curve stands illustrated. The book, Sudeep Sen: Selected Interviews & Conversations, is a abstract of alarming accounts of how balladry constitutes the soul-connect for this biographer but additionally extends outwards to accept the abode of the anapestic arts in the arcane world. The addition by Sudeep Sen alpha with the line, “I did not accept poetry, balladry chose me” captures a aisle of affairs area he adherent himself to the ability of autograph and additionally begin himself at the centre of cardinal accouterment in the actualization of Indian balladry in English.
The book beneath analysis is the aboriginal of three volumes about Sudeep Sen, this one focussing on interviews advance over 30 years of his arcane career. Volume 2 will accommodate ‘critical essays and reviews’ on his assignment over the aforementioned period; and Volume 3 for Sen’s own ‘non-fiction analytical and artistic essays’. Volume 1 is disconnected into two ample sections: ‘Selected Long Interviews’ and ‘Selected Short Interviews & Conversations.’ The capacity covered ambit broadly and pertinently from claimed observations to a able advancement for balladry in accessible forums. According to Sen, the history and accomplishment of Indian balladry in English is earlier and added than that of Indian English fiction but the anapestic attitude is recognised too little. Albeit, this is one poet’s appearance and Sudeep never claims otherwise, but such a book opens up the admirable achievability that added above writers and critics will accurate their assessment on prioritising poetry.
Of the 25 interviews, the best absolute ones are by Ziaul Karim from Bangladesh, Akshaya Kumar from India, Doina Ioanid from Europe, and the best appealing by Catherine Woodward, a common contributor to the American Balladry Review. From abstract questions to queries on specific lines, the ambit is advanced and Sudeep’s anxious and able answers are a amusement to read. Best accepted for his beauteous images, his abounding ambit and his abstruse brilliance, the interviewers appeal aboveboard answers and Sudeep never hesitates.
One alternate catechism is about ‘home’ and ‘rootedness’ back a biographer is consistently alteration location, and Sen explains his catholic accomplishments in a Delhi-based Bengali speaking family, an English apprenticeship and Hindi as the accent of friendships. A alongside home in London and the common residencies in abounding genitalia of the apple anatomy up the transnational affection further. The aftereffect is accurate in these evocative lines:‘I / am activity home already afresh from addition / home, artifice the braid of absoluteness into addition one / one that acclaim reminds and stalls / to confirm: my anatomy is the step-son of my soul’ (from Flying Home in Fractals).
However, the Indian appearance seems to abide at the amount of Sen’s anapestic sensibilities which is best illustrated by his captivation in dance, music, art and mythology. One of my favourite balladry is Bharatanatyam Dancer, aggressive by Leela Samson, area he invents a rhyme-scheme (abacca) that replicates the (ta dhin ta thaye thaye ta) step-patterns of the dancer. The composition is laid out visually as admitting on a stage. The “sacred darkness” and the “radiance of quiet femininity” action a around-the-clock abutment in classical abstract — and Sen turns to this afresh and again, whether in the Prayer Flag arrangement set in Ladakh, or in the Blue Nude balladry aggressive by Henri Matisse. As a artist with affiliated interests in blur making, photography, architecture and affidavit — Sen has a affluent repertoire to draw upon, and the aforementioned folio can accommodate aspects from science, the allegory of Radha-Krishna, as able-bodied as masters of European art.
Sudeep Sen ( Simi S )
As with added writers, Sudeep Sen too is asked about the artistic action — is it afflatus or adamantine work? It comes as no abruptness that acclimatized hours amount most, but here’s the secret, “Being a biographer is like actuality a aberrant affectionate of beast…” — one that annal “fragments, overheard figments, choir or images”. Did a artistic autograph advance in the USA advice with the allocation of actual and the moulding of language, addition accuser wants to know, and the acknowledgment is honest — it helps to adept prosody and to apprehend abundance of all-embracing abreast balladry by way of “education”.
In a sense, Sudeep Sen both encourages and cautions practitioners of poetry. In his mission to beginning affection assignment from India, Sen has appear two path-breaking anthologies, The HarperCollins Book of English Balladry [by Indians], and the afresh appear Modern English Balladry by Younger Indians (Sahitya Akademi). Add to that Sen’s own translations of poetry, Aria, which won the celebrated AK Ramanujan Translation Award, and we accept an absorbing bulk for a analytical compassionate of the history of the genre.
Altogether an adept par excellence, Sudeep Sen lives and breathes balladry one may say. “Poetry is music, balladry is gold” says Sudeep in an account with Agnes Lam, and quotes his own curve about “poetry’s pleasures and epiphanies”. This book of interviews marvellously covers his theories and practice, memories and challenges, innovations and experiments. Using a appellation from one of Sen’s books, we see actuality the alluring “fractals” from a poet’s adventure and his abysmal analytical assurance with it. Sudeep Sen: Selected Interviews & Conversations is an absorbing and important book for anyone who follows Indian and apple abstract seriously.
Malashri Lal, bookish and writer, is a affiliate of the English Advisory Board of the Sahitya Akademi.
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