Birds of Water
Author: Jayanta Mahapatra
Translated from the Odia by Gopa Ranjan Mishra
9788195941148 | HardCover | pp. 195 | 2023 | Dhauli Books
Birds of Water is a translation of Jayanta Mahapatra’s Odia poems, beautifully rendered by Gopa Ranjan Mishra, who hails from the same old city and has intimately watched the life and living of Mahapatra.
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For Jayanta Mahapatra (October 22, 1928-August 27, 2023), who wrote both in Odia and English, poetry was his lifeblood, his raison d’être. In his enviable oeuvre — more than 30 volumes, in both English and Odia, written over a period of five-and-a-half decades — not only did he create a voice and idiom of his own, he also made the colours, textures, and soul of Odisha, as the state is now known, breathe through his poetry. The Orissa of Mahapatra’s imagination, as Jeet Thayil writes in The Penguin Book of Indian Poets, is “a crowded place, corroded by monsoon rains and violence, where God’s silence is ‘deep and famous’ and interrupted only by His laughter.”
Birds of Water is a translation of Mahapatra’s Odia poems. Poet-translator-publisher Manu Dash, who had been working with him to bring out a bilingual collection of his poems, had met him just before his passing away to show him the proof. But, regretably, Dash would never get around to presenting a copy to Mahapatra. Nonetheless, here is the translation, beautifully rendered by Gopa Ranjan Mishra, who hails from the same old city and has intimately watched the life and living of Jayanta Mahapatra.
Excerpted from this article by Nawaid Anjum.
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