Indo-American Arts Council
Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee in conversation with Nandana Dev Sen on the book launch of
Acrobat Poems by Nabaneeta Dev Sen
May 8, 2021 at 8PM EST
To pre-order the book visit.
A radiant collection of poetry about womanhood, intimacy, and the body politic that together evokes the arc of an ordinary life. Nabaneeta Dev Sen's rhythmic lines explore the joys and agonies of first love, childbirth, and decay with a restless, tactile imagination, both picking apart and celebrating the rituals that make us human. When she warns, "know that blood can be easily drawn by lips," her words tune to the fierce and biting depths of language, to the "treachery that lingers on tongue tips." At once compassionate and unsparing, conversational and symphonic, these poems tell of a rope shivering beneath an acrobat's nimble feet or of a twisted, blood-soaked umbilical cord – they pluck the invisible threads that bind us together.
THE INDO-AMERICAN ARTS COUNCIL PRESENTS
A CONVERSATION WITH NOBEL LAUREATE DR. ABHIJIT BANERJEE AND NANDANA DEV SEN ON THE LITERARY LIFE AND WORK OF NABANEETA DEV SEN
- LIVE, Online Event for Mother’s Day -
-A daughter, writer, activist and actor releases her late mother's poetry for the first time in English, lovingly translated by her.
NEW YORK, NY – April 29, 2021 – Honor all mothers with a compassionate glimpse into the relationship between one of India’s greatest female writers and her daughter. The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) in partnership with Archipelago Books will host an early preview of Acrobat Poems by Nabaneeta Dev Sen (Penguin Random House, 2021) – a luminous compilation of the late author’s poems, translated from Bengali to English by her accomplished daughter, Nandana Dev Sen.
This exclusive event will feature an intimate conversation between Nobel laureate, Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, and the multi-talented writer, activist and actor, Nandana Dev Sen. In addition to unveiling these exquisite poems, now available in English for the very first time, Nandana will read a daughter’s letter to her beloved mother, a moving tribute to all mothers on Mother’s Day. And she will offer her own perspective on translating between cultures, and the importance of preserving literary work by women transcending ethnicity and generations. There will also be a Q&A portion during the live broadcast.
Suman Gollamudi, IAAC Executive Director, said, “As part of its increased support for female voices, IAAC is pleased to host this showstopper global book launch on Mother’s Day. It also represents a return engagement for Nandana Dev Sen who IAAC has featured previously as part of its Film Festival.”
Nili Lakhani, Literary Festival Curator stated, “IAAC commitment to poetry could not have found a better talent than Nabaneeta Dev Sen whose works are in the league of Emily Dickinson.”
Watch LIVE on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. ET at www.facebook.com/iaac.us and on www.youtube.com/user/IAACEvent.
To pre-order the book please visit https://archipelagobooks.org/book/acrobat/ .
About Dr. Abhijit Banerjee
Dr. Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003 he co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan, and he remains one of the Lab’s Directors. Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and a winner of the Infosys Prize.
Abhijit is the author of a large number of articles and four books, including Poor Economics, which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year, and Good Economics for Hard Times, both co-authored with Esther Duflo. He is the editor of three more books and has directed two documentary films. Banerjee has served on the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. He is a co-recipient of the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for his groundbreaking work in development economics research.
About Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Nabaneeta Dev Sen (1938-2019) remains one of the most beloved and versatile Bengali writers of all time. Equally expressive in poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction, she has over one hundred books to her credit, including compilations of poems, novels, plays, stories, memoirs, academic essays, children’s literature, political columns, literary translations, and multiple volumes of her collected works. Her many honors include the Padma Shri, Bangla Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, Sahitya Akademi Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award of the Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Guild. Dev Sen lived a parallel life as a distinguished international scholar and feminist and was the Founder and President of the West Bengal Women Writers’ Association, Soi.
About Nandana Dev Sen
Nandana Dev Sen is a writer, actor, and child-rights activist. She has written six children’s books (translated into more than 15 languages globally) and starred in 20 feature films (from four continents, in numerous languages). She has represented UNICEF, RAHI and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to fight against child abuse, and to end human trafficking. Winner of the Last Girl Champion Award (and multiple Best Actress Awards), Nandana is Child Protection Ambassador for Save the Children India. . Nandana is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For news and updates, please swing by www.nandanadevsen.com.
About Acrobat Poems by Nabaneeta Dev Sen
This radiant collection of poetry explores themes of womanhood, intimacy, and the body politic that together evokes the arc of an ordinary life. Nabaneeta Dev Sen's rhythmic lines explore the joys and agonies of first love, childbirth, and decay with a restless, tactile imagination, both picking apart and celebrating the rituals that make us human. When she warns, "know that blood can be easily drawn by lips," her words tune to the fierce and biting depths of language, to the "treachery that lingers on tongue tips." At once compassionate and unsparing, conversational and symphonic, these poems tell of a rope shivering beneath an acrobat's nimble feet or of a twisted, blood-soaked umbilical cord – they pluck the invisible threads that bind us together.
To pre-order the book please visit https://archipelagobooks.org/book/acrobat/ .
It is a special gift when a great poet of the world is finally well translated. Here, the legendary Bengali poet, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, is re-birthed in English by her daughter, Nandana Dev Sen. I believe that Acrobat is a book that will rescue us and be loved around the world. – Gloria Steinem
A new collection of Nabaneeta Dev Sen's work, translated with great felicity, by her daughter Nandana, covers a spectrum of the poet's gifts from the playful and tender that recall Tagore to the fierce and passionate, the final poems not so much shadowed by death as ignited by it. – Anita Desai
These translations of Nabaneeta Dev Sen's poems capture her quirky yet profound voice so beautifully. These are the poems of an adventurous and indefatigable traveler, observing the world with deep sympathy, through the prism of a sensibility that is securely rooted in the culture of Bengal. — Amitav Ghosh
Acrobat Poems by Nabaneeta Dev Sen translated from the Bengali by Nandana Dev Sen
- $18 USD / $24 CAN / £14 trade paperback original
- 152 pages
- ISBN: 9781939810809
- eBook ISBN: 9781939810816
- Distributed to the trade worldwide by Penguin Random House Publisher Services: www.penguinrandomhouse.com
The Indo-American Arts Council supports all the artistic disciplines in classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. We work cooperatively with colleagues around the United States to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding. Our focus is to help artists and art organizations in North America as well as to facilitate artists from India to exhibit, perform and produce their work here.
The IAAC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of the arts and artists whose heritage lies in the Indian subcontinent in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by the law. For information, please visit www.IAAC.us.
Executive Director, Indo-American Arts Council
For Archipelago Books
Sarah Gale, Archipelago Books
Poetry and music are both languages of the heart, so it is a special gift when a great poet of the world is finally welltranslated. Here, the legendary Bengali poet, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, is re-birthed in English by her daughter, Nandana Dev Sen. I believe that Acrobat is a book that will rescue us and be loved around the world.
— Gloria Steinem
These translations of Nabaneeta Dev Sen's poems capture her quirky yet profound voice so beautifully that I felt I could hear her reading them aloud. These are the poems of an adventurous and indefatigable traveler, observing the world with deep understanding and sympathy, through the prism of a sensibility that is securely rooted in the culture of Bengal.
— Amitav Ghosh
These sparkling translations from Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s long, important body of work cycle through her (and our own) exigent concerns: time, identity, the familial. Dev Sen is famous for perfecting a remarkably clear syntax that incorporates sensual detail and repetition not as ornament but as the very ingredients of its riveting precision. And she always follows her own prescription: “Stay awake in every line.”
— Forrest Gander
There's an aching beauty within each one of these translations. There's assuredness balanced against vulnerability; there's dignity and compassion. Nabaneeta was an acrobatic writer, uniquely able to negotiate the tightropes of language, migration, separation, union and motherhood, one of the most brilliant writers that I ever knew.
— Siddhartha Mukherjee
In Nabaneeta Dev Sen's poems, she walks a tightrope between a black cloud and a cloud that is blood-red. When the rope shivers, you, the reader, can feel it in the lines and hold your breath. Good translations of modern Indian poetry are hard to come by. This one by Nandana Dev Sen has to be one of the best.
— Arvind Krishna Mehrotra
Nabaneeta Dev Sen's Acrobat is that rare, majestic creature: a book that, through every page, underscores the quiet high-wire act required from the poet. It is a feat whose complexity is only matched by its mastery in inhabiting the multiple selves of artist, daughter, lover, mother, translator, scholar and more. Here are poems that capture the pleasures and trials of the human experience - desire, decay, mortality, childbirth, bereavement, wonder - with unsparing detail and sensitivity, and celebrate the gift of language which helps us transcend them.
— Karthika Naïr
One simultaneously hears the voices of mother and daughter in a duet of perfect harmony. The translations don’t read as translations; they read as poems, a new voice perfect in its own right, transcending the barrier of death.
— Wendy Doniger
Nabaneeta Dev Sen
"Her pen unfolds a rare fluidity, an insight into human nature, a gift for satire capped with feather-light touches of humour."
— Times of India
"It was through her creative writing that Dev Sen gave herself a sovereign presence in the Bengali literary sphere . . . She was not afraid of baring her pain in the early poetry she wrote, nor did she ever compromise on questions of freedom."
— Dipesh Chakrabarty
"In her poetry, words are not symbols, not individualised characters, but sentinels that represent hopes, dreams, fears, and inner instincts."
— Uma Nair, Times of India
"Her spontaneity, unique style of expression, vast and varied experience of life are evident in her poems, short stories, novels, features, and essays. Her wit and humor, sense of detachment together with heart-to-heart sensibility give her writings a personal touch that is hard to ignore."
— Indian Library of Congress
"In prose, Dev Sen radiated warmth and joy, enlivened by her trademark self-deprecating humour and a robust sense of hope and compassion even in the direst of circumstances."
— Somak Ghoshal, Livemint
"One of the doyens of Bengali Literature . . . I got to read whatever little I could of what was translated in English. But I hope more is translated. I hope more people read her.”
— Vivek Tejuja
"A prolific, peerless writer who made worlds and words come alive."
— Raja Sen
Acrobat Poems by Nabaneeta Dev Sen