Sangam House



Poetry with Prakriti

In December of 2010, eight poets gathered in Pondicherry, India. They spent one week translating each other’s work into eleven different languages and creating a performance based on the poetry. That performance kicked off the opening night of the Prakriti Festival in Chennai, India. Here is our documentation of the project.

The poets created a blog during the week they were together.

Meena Kandasamy is a poet, fiction writer and translator. Her first book, Touch, was published in 2006. Two of her poems have won prizes in all-India poetry competitions. Her poetry has been published in various journals, including The Little Magazine, Kavya Bharati, Indian Horizons, Muse India and the Quarterly Literary Review, Singapore. She edited The Dalit, a bi-monthly alternative English magazine of the Dalit Media Network in its first year of publication from 2001 to 2002. Kandasamy’s translations include the writings and speeches of Thol. Thirumavalavan, leader of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal or the Dalit Panthers of India (Talisman: Extreme Emotions of Dalit Liberation, 2003) and the poetry and fables of Tamil Eelam poet, Kasi Anandan. She is one of the 21 short fiction writers from South Asia featured in an anthology published by Zubaan, New Delhi.

Robin Ngangom is a bilingual poet who writes in English and Manipuri. A lyric poet and translator of long standing, he is a significant presence in the literature of North-eastern India. Since the publication of his first volume of verse in 1988, he has proceeded to consolidate his literary reputation with a poetry collection in every subsequent decade. While many of his poems are birthed in English and then translated by him into Manipuri, the reverse occurs frequently as well.

Sampurna Chattarji is an award-wining poet, fiction-writer and translator. Her books include The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Abol Tabol: The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray and Mulla Nasruddin (all published by Penguin/Puffin). Abol Tabol was reissued as a Puffin Classic in 2008 under the title Wordygurdyboom! Her modern retelling of the complete Panchatantra titled Three Brothers and the Flower of Gold was published in July 2008 by Scholastic. Her debut poetry collection Sight May Strike You Blind was published by the Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters) in 2007, and reprinted in 2008. June 2009 saw the publication of Sampurna’s first novel Rupture from HarperCollins.

Sachin Ketkar is a writer, translator and critic, based in Baroda, Gujarat. He has authored two collections of poems – one in Marathi and one in English – and has translated and edited an anthology of contemporary Marathi poetry, entitled Live Update. He has worked on translating fiction and poetry from Gujarati and Marathi into English. His translation projects have focused on the work of Gujarati short fiction writers, Nazir Mansuri and Mona Patrawala, as well as 15th-century Gujarati poet, Narsinh Mehta. He holds a doctorate in translation studies and works as a Reader in the Department of English at the MS University, Baroda. He is also a contributing editor for New Quest, a journal for participatory cultural enquiry in Mumbai.

Roselyne Sibille is a French poet. She studied geography, and then worked as a librarian before running creative writing workshops. She lives in Provence where she writes on her approach to the human being in connection with self and nature. She gives writing and listening lessons at the University of Aix en Provence (CFMI)[1] and has created poetry workgroups at the University of Avignon. She leads writing workgroups for the association “Share horizons”(Partage d’horizons). Since 2005, she goes with groups in the desert of Sahara for the association Wind’s friend (L’ami du vent),

Raphael Bendicht Urweider studied German literature and philosophy in Fribourg, and sees himself as a poet and a musician. He has performed with the Bernise Hip-Hop crew LDeeP and composed the music for a number of plays. In 1999, he received the Arbeitsstipendium des Deutschen Literaturfonds, as well as the Leonce-und-Lena-Preis. Other prizes include the Förderpreis des Bremer Literaturpreises (2001), the 3sat award at the Ingeborg Bachmann Competition (2002), and the Clemens-Brentano-Preis (2004). His first volume of poetry, Lichter in Menlo Park, was published in 2000. His latest collection is Das Gegenteil von Fleisch (2003). He also translates plays (Five Gold Rings, Poor Beck by Joanna Laurens) and poetry (Minsk by Lavinia Greenlaw). In March 2009, he was awarded the ‘Schillerpreis’ for his poems in ‘Alle deine Namen’. He lives in Bern.

W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee, and educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he published his DPhil thesis (To Circumjack MacDiarmid, OUP, 1992). He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle Universioty. He has published seven volumes of poetry and four pamphlets, and his work is widely anthologised. His last five collections, with Bloodaxe Books, have won numerous accolades. He has been shortlisted twice for the T.S. Eliot prize and twice for the Saltire. He has gained three Poetry Book Society Recommendations, and won three Scottish Arts Council Awards. He has published broadly in the field of Creative Writing, and is a regular reviewer of contemporary poetry. His research interests include creative writing theory and practice; contemporary British poetry, especially Scottish poetry, focusing on Hugh MacDiarmid and Edwin Morgan; poetry in translation.

Zoë Skoulding lives in Bangor, Wales. Her most recent collection of poems, Remains of a Future City, was published by Seren in 2008, following The Mirror Trade in 2004. A tri-lingual selection of poems in English, German and Czech was published with a CD under the title You Will Live in Your Own Cathedral by Literature Across Frontiers and Seren in 2009. Her collaborations include Dark Wires, with Ian Davidson (West House Books, 2007) and From Here, with visual artist Simonetta Moro (Dusie, 2008) and the long-term project Metropoetica with Literature Across Frontiers. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and currently holds an AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts at Bangor University, where she is researching poetry and city space. She has been involved in several projects incorporating poetry, film and music, and is a member of the group Parking Non-Stop whose album Species Corridor was released by Klangbad in 2008. She is a co-editor of Skald and became Editor of the international quarterly Poetry Wales in 2008.