Selected Bengali Poetry

Presented by KAURAB

Dhiman Chakrabarty

An introduction to Dhiman Chakrabarty's poetry
Aryanil Mukherjee

Dhiman Chakrabarty (b. 1955) is a much awarded, discussed and debated poet from 1980s generation. With a writing style, impersonally unique from the beginning, Dhiman shot into prominence when his maiden book of poems Aguner Aramkedaaraa (Fire Rocker, 1991) won the Bishnu De Award. He has been a prolific writer since then. He has authored more than 10 books of poetry. Some of his other important titles include Kaach Shaharer Maanushh (People of a Glass City, 1991), Dastana Bhare Uthachhe (The Glove’s Filling, 1994), DhusarGypsy BrishhTiRikshaa (FadedGypsy RainRickshaw, 1997), Dhimaner Charaachar (Dhiman’s Space, collected poems, 2008) etc. Postmodern elements abound in his work although some critics have identified the neo-surreal and its updates. A veritable Kolkatan, Dhiman works in a national Bank. He has edited a little poetry magazine Alaap for many years and is presently associated with Bhinnamukh (The Other Face) - another poetry magazine that focusses on new, experimental writing. The language of Dhiman’s poetry, like some of his contemporaries, bullies grammar, omits the ready simile, twists the metaphor. A Dalian world seems to hide in his everyday visuals. A conscious effort has been made in the translations to capture these aspects.

Selected Poems :: Dhiman Chakrabarty


I go to your house regularly
and watch,
To a frying pan you speak fondly.
Watching me
the calcium layer of your mouth breaks.
You serve me flower in a cup
And I
keep drinking from those petals.
a steamer on stove blows siren.
In fright you grip onto
Table lamp bulb, but your fingers
Are not gleaming red.
All those dreadful and ugly whatever
You have,
spread out in the room, May be all these
Will deliver my life from a crisis.

Attraction grows on
since your palm isn’t red
In this dark rain
leaving me behind cold and feverish
My black raincoat is walking
back towards your house.
(Translated by Barin Ghosal)

The Cat

Bright human faces appear on typewriter tapes
At 5 PM. Movements under the wrist become still.
Monotonous afternoon shading us, finally passed, like
resounding clicks receding from one table and further.
When long shadowy fingers are just about to please us –
A black cat suddenly leaps, licking a bit of the sun
As if a four-penny coffee cake. Who else
also leaps like that?

You and I come back home,
we get up in the dark and resume movement
with sounds of our linen and love. And then
the noise of love making wakes up our office door,
staircase and lift, even chairs;
Add typewriters – untiring keynotes –
Until children bloom with soft strokes on paper
thin abdomen like faces of bright men.
Clawless and edentate
The black cat in languid watching.

(Translated by Barin Ghosal)


Suicides being so common these days, its obvious
That ropes are no longer mistaken for snakes.But some
must think of garlands with tuberose or rose scent.
Here is how it goes – officers at their desks, grow tired
Pushing and pouring over ledgers and files day after day
When fed up enough, they think of death day after day
Till suddenly one day, staring at the clothesline,
Suicide comes to mind. I've questioned some people and found
The bell-rope in trams and buses makes them feel the same way
Others grow tired keeping count of skulls. With death
Ever on their minds, petticoat strings, walters' belts, horses'
Tails help grow an obsession for suicide. Before our eyes
Suicide ropes shimmer like moonlight. And then
Every year the rains come, the ropes gather mildew
Next year it rains again, the ropes mildew again
That year it rains like earlier years, mildew again

Not a bit of rope left then for suicide, they rot

(Translation by Madhuchhanda Karlekar)

Bangla Junction

Sitting on dead wires
a magpie Robin of Bengal conveyed electricity to town from its beak,
a greenlight
shed petals on sewing machine used in dance drama.
Blowing feeder canal
one humming song
Started a motion picture on one chilling bicycle.
As many times I rode
it took me to the same tottering biography.
Filled girls’-school
and tutoress
lolling song crystalized on reflected razor.
To the empty ferrybank busy in exalting head,
wrapping scarf
ancient moon, comes down lone
on a Bangla junction lying in easychair.

(Translated by Barin Ghosal)


Summer had my face entangled at noon
and I became a little more aged.
Smeared with its fragrance
The lizards were poised to strike.
Someone wanted to swap my face with his.
While singing he pierced the wall
and went through it, his torn hairs
coiled around the transparent coffin
of my thoughts and musings.
Powders of sea flew in
from the outside the window.
There is nothing left in the front.
Putting their heads down under the sea weeds,
a few seagulls searching for something –
They carried my skull by their beaks.

(Translated by Animesh Kanti Pal)

Dhiman Chakrabarty's photograph: Natun Kabita


Dhiman Chakrabarty


Aguner Araamkedaaraa(1990)

(Fire Rocker)

Kaach Shaharer Maanushh(1991)

Dastana Bhare Uthachhe(1994)

(The Glove’s Filling)

DhusarGypsy BrishhTiRikshaa (1997)

(FadedGypsy RainRickshaw)

Dhimaner Charaachar (2008)

(Dhiman’s Space, collected poems)

Selected Bengali Poetry
Selected Bengali Poets Generation-1930
Selected Bengali Poets Generation-1950
Selected Bengali Poets Generation-1960
20th Century
Last Quarter

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