One Man by Joy ion comes and sits on his shoulder one morning Slowly with long thin beak it cleans his ear When his eye. Joy Goswami is one of the best Bengali poets around and writes in the Bengali language. He is a well published writer of the ‘post-Jibananda Das era’, having. Joy Goswami (Bengali: জয় গোস্বামী; born ) is an Indian poet. Goswami writes in Bengali Translation of six poems · Interview in Bengali · Review by Bhaloti Basibo on Joy Goswami · Poetry International page. Some MP3 recordings of.

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Sumana Roy writes from Siliguri, a small town in sub-Himalayan Bengal. Her website can be found here.

A superstar poet is just as much an oxymoron as a wealthy poet. Since a literary critic, in spite of her nosey detective gossami, has access only to a kobitz words and not their bank records, it is difficult to say whether the Bengali poet Joy Goswami is the latter.

The film is about a man who is terribly and stereotypically a ‘poet’: In keeping with his affinity for casting commercial ‘stars’ in his films, a business decision he does not hesitate to admit, Ghosh cast Bengal’s most popular actor, Prosenjit Chatterjee, as the poet Indranil. But most Bengalis of my generation did kobta go to see the film for Chatterjee’s sake.

The superstar who enticed us to buy the theatre tickets was Joy Goswami, arguably Bengal’s most loved and popular poet. Goswami turned sixty this year, and to celebrate his life in poetry, a documentary called Joy at Sixty was produced by Sumit Das. The film, quite self-consciously, structures itself like a Goswami poem, and perfectly illustrates the ways in which his work has infiltrated the public consciousness. Just as Goswami’s poems are conversations, in Bengal, the college streets and university canteens are often filled with conversations about his poetry, snatches of which are recorded in Das’s documentary: As I watched, I found myself smiling, the harvest of irony—I remembered my father’s best friend advising me, as a child, to study hard instead of spending my time reading or voswami poetry.

Because Goswami, jou lost his father early when the family was still living in Ranaghat, the suburb near Kolkata that gives his poems the tone of far-near and goswaim mother was a school headmistress, was a school dropout. He wasn’t exactly the kind of role model parents would bring to their child’s attention.

But by the time I was in college in the mid s, Goswami had become an everyday saint for my friends in the Bangla department.

Joy Goswami, Selected Poems – Asymptote

At college functions, his words rang out from loudspeakers, finding their way into the popular consciousness. I heard friends gossip about a respected professor mentioning Shakespeare, Tagore, and Goswami in a joke with the moral: One poet in Das’s documentary remarks that Goswami was singlehandedly responsible for creating a new readership for Bangla poetry in the early s. What he does not say is that this was also the moment when a new India was being created: Introducing new readers of poetry into this milieu was an enormous task, and Goswami set upon it without a manifesto.

He wrote for several magazines, not all of them established or well-known. He read poems by amateurs, replied to their letters, quoted them in his essays and editorials. He met young poets at book fairs and when they told him their names, he would quote their own poetry at them, and ask, “So you are the poet who wrote these lines? Goswami emerged into the popular consciousness alongside another important Bengali wordsmith, Suman Chattopadhyay. Now known as Kabir Suman, Chattopadhyay is a songwriter, a singer, and Bengal’s only public intellectual with a guitar.

Both Chattopadhyay and Goswami played an important role in rejecting a bhadralok discourse bhadralok literally means ‘gentlefolk’, a mostly upper caste and upper class emerging in the late eighteenth century by restoring the everyday to poetry. They were, in their different ways, dragging the epic into narratives of dailiness, writing about a thousand Mrs. Dalloways and a thousand different Ramayanas. Bangla literature—and music—is full of women who represent the muse, or unattainable love: Goswami’s women subvert these tropes.


The poems “Hamida” and “Olu”, translated by Sampurna Chattarji in Harper Perennial’s new volume of Goswami’s selected works, are manifestos for writing about the kinds of women who are usually left out of history. How is one to write a poem about one’s illiterate maid, for instance? First, stop making her anonymous—that seems to be Goswami’s dictum. Hamida is the polar opposite to Jibanananda Das’s famous Bonolata Sen, an impossibly attractive woman for whom the speaking persona has spent centuries walking; Hamida, on the other hand, walks for you: Her name is Hamida.

She carries the shopping bags. If you tell her, she’ll carry them to your doorstep. No one calls her by name. The vegetable-vendors, the fish-sellers say: Even if nobody else “calls her by name,” he will. There she comes, through our lane, right behind Kaberi— Hamida with two bags big and small in her hands [ In the big one the spinning earth.

In the big one rivers, trees, oceans, mountains, deserts, slums and cities Crores of ants, are they people?

Bursting through the bag the moon Gleams in the sky. Trampling on space That dark girl walks on [ Below her feet Lakhs of lights dance!

Joy Goswami

Goswami is doing two remarkable things here: But second, he is displacing this imagery from its museum status and dragging it into the everyday, a bit like carrying a king’s throne in a “shopping bag. In Nazrul’s song, the dark girl is the goddess Kali. By giving the dark servant girl a name, by linking the darkness of goswsmi skin with that of a goddess, by making her the titular subject of a poem, integrating the moon, rivers, trees, oceans, and mountains into her history, Goswami manages to create a crack in kobiya consciousness, through which he slips the word “slums.

The speaker in Das’s poem walks the crests of Indian history searching for the woman who exemplifies its golden ages; Goswami’s poetic subjects, in contrast, walk through crowded lanes in bazaars, kobitta what modernist poets might recognise as the diminished epic. My personal fascination for Goswami’s work has been primarily with his quiet feminism.

Goswami’s work is rarely described as feminist, and yet it is undeniably so—especially in his poems about the natural world, in which he refuses to follow the old nature-as-woman trope, prakriti. One important example is the poem “Nando’s mother” “Nando-r Ma”in which a young woman named Priyobala Das migrates from East Pakistan to Kolkata to work as a maid.

Generations of female domestic workers in Bengal have been defined by their motherhood: Meanwhile, his brilliant poems about goswaim often transform space by jpy them as an extension of the women living in them.

Take the poem “Cauldron,” which details an old house being pulled down: Since morning two noy have been coming and going In front of the veranda Pans full of sand and stone chips on their heads. Over the last few days an old house nearby was torn down.

Flats will come up. And so it continues, detailing the fear of eviction from a familiar space.

All this is seen through geological time, one of the constants of Goswami’s poetry and prosethrough “supernovas bursting like bubbles” and so on, until we reach the breath-stopping last line: Where will I live with Kaberi-Bukun? Or take his poem “Olu”: Olu cooks for us. In this house If anyone loses anything, let Olu know. Taking down the pressure-cooker She’ll say: It’s hanging behind The bathroom door.

Look, there’s some in that pocket. On top of the TV. Boudi’s eye-medicine, Bukun-di’s college books kobkta Many people in the subcontinent make a living by making themselves indispensable as house help. But not everyone has Goswami as an employer. I would use the word ‘subalterns’ to describe the subjects of many of his poems, if only he saw them that way—he doesn’t.

For it is at this point in the poem that the poet turns Olu into someone who is no longer chained by misplaced household items. The cook and in-house detective what else can one call her expertise? The minute you ask, she’ll think a bit And tell you which quasar has been misplaced by scientists, Which black hole godwami where This refusal to see domesticity and its branches as divorced from the koy of nature and history gooswami the iobita gives Joy Goswami’s poems their life force.


It also derives from his refusal to make a distinction between gharey and baireythe home and the world.

One Man – Poem by Joy Goswami

In the poem “Spice grinding,” the man who has “come to prepare the spice-grinding slab” chips away lakes from the body of the slab.

Once he’s done It’ll be fit to grind spices on. In towns across the globe Car-bombs explode—abandoned briefcases, parked scooters Explode—every day flakes are flung off the body of the earth— around the slab those aren’t shards of stone, they’re rows of dead bodies Their hands and feet torn [ His expansive tendency to see an ordinary event as part of an epiphanous macrocosm is one of the charms of Goswami’s poetry; here, “Mother Earth” herself is a spice-grinding slab.

Whether he is writing about time and history at war with each other, about trees and grass, astronomy and the earth, the night sky and its inhabitants, the sun, reptiles and eagles, dead parents and living lovers, money and its siblings, houses and their windows, freedom, or about wood and its skeletons, the shadow of women hides behind all his themes.

Reading Goswami’s poetry, one has the sense of how it goswaim feel for a man to be a woman. In our times, that will almost immediately be understood as something akin to androgyny, but that is not exactly what I mean. In Goswami, Jyo have that rare sense of being allowed to enter a man’s female mind. But my favourite Goswami poems are the paglithe poems about the madwoman: Shanti shanti shanti shanti—when the golden madgirl sits on the shore eating one sunset after another Koobita, Burnt by the Sun Or, Here comes the mother Having sold her daughter The mad will roam again, looking for A drowned world rage sorrow seared Ashes, Burnt by the Sun.

And this— A mad woman has been sitting at the ghat For such a long time after her bath Ashes, Burnt by the Sun. And then there is his most famous madwoman poem, not included in this collection.

One Man Poem by Joy Goswami – Poem Hunter

It is titled “Pagli, tomar sathey,” meaning “Madwoman, with you,” which opens thus: Madwoman, with you I’ll spend a fearful life [my translation] No matter how many times I read these poems, I am always left asking myself two disturbing questions: For in Goswami’s world, the madwoman does not live in the attic.

She is you and I, the woman a lover takes to bed, to the theatre, to the dust and kobiat storm, to Shyambazar and to proofreading sessions, and so on. It is this everyday quality of madness that gives Goswami’s poetry so much of its energy.

He finds it everywhere—the madness of tradition and the madness of individual talent. The madness that turns a companion into a competitor; the madness that attends the uncertainty of ending a poem; the madness that has turned poetry into a consumer product; the madness of migration, between nations and between genres.

As I read through Sampurna Chattarji’s affectionate and efficient translation of this selection of Goswami’s poems, I was grateful to her for having preserved kobitw madness; for, jobita sanity might bind us as a community, it is the ojy of our madness that makes us unique.