Nandana Dev Sen with Karthika Naïr

It may well be with a sense of acrobatic virtual orchestration that we present, with our friends at Tasveer, this program featuring poems by the late, great Bengali poet and prose writer Nabaneeta Dev Sen in the new collection, Acrobat (Archipelago Books), as translated by renowned author, actor, and children’s right activist Nandana Dev Sen, who also happens to be a daughter of Nabaneeta Dev Sen. Nandana Dev Sen, whose homes include Kolkata, London, and New York, will be reading in this program, and in conversation with esteemed poet and Elliott Bay friend, Karthika Naïr, who is from Kerala, but based now in Paris.

“Poetry and music are both languages of the heart, so 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.

“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.

“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, whose most recent book is the stunning Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata.

Others with early praise for this include Wendy Doniger, Amitav Ghosh, Anita Desai, Arvind Krishna Mehrota, Arshia Sattar, Martha C. Nussbaum, Forrest Gander, and more.

Co-presented by Tasveer and Elliott Bay Book Company.

Event Registration


Acrobat Cover Image
By Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Nandana Sen (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781939810809
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Archipelago - May 11th, 2021

Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata Cover Image
ISBN: 9781939810366
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Archipelago - November 12th, 2019

Saturday, June 12, 2021 - 2:00pm
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
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