Fresh insight into the poetic career of Bengal's greatest poet by his most compelling translator.
Bengali is the world’s seventh most popular language in terms of the number who use it, but few have made the journey from the West to its cultural or spiritual interior. Its intellectual tradition is without equal in present-day India. Rabindranath Tagore, a true Renaissance man, is its greatest writer.
Joe Winter’s selection from Tagore’s more than 40 books of poetry gives a wonderful sense of his variety in lyrics, songs and narratives. It complements and extends the work he began with translating Song Offerings (2000).
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) became the first non-Westerner to win the Nobel Prize in 1913, largely on the strength of his own prose versions of his poems, greatly admired by W.B. Yeats. The national anthems of both India and Bangladesh are Tagore’s own compositions. His songs are sung in all Bengali-speaking parts.
Joe Winter lived in Calcutta from 1994 to 2006. Anvil has published his poetry (Guest and Host, 2003) and four translations from Bengali: two volumes of poetry by Jibanananda Das and two books by Tagore, Gitanjali (as Song Offerings) and his essays Atmaparichay (as Of Myself, co-translated with Devadatta Joardar). He received the Tagore Institute of Calcutta’s 2006 award for the propagation of Tagore’s work. He now teaches in Sussex.