Sampurna Chattarji

1. We would like to know about your journey as a poet

An exciting ride would be more like it, with plenty of detours, diversions and hiatuses. Interestingly the first book I published way back in 2004 was not my own poetry but my translation of Sukumar Ray’s poetry (and prose) from Bangla into English (Abol Tabol: The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray, from Penguin, which quickly went on to become a Puffin Classic). My first poetry book (Sight May Strike You Blind, Sahitya Akademi) only came out in 2007. This was followed by my poetry book for kids, The Fried Frog and other Funny Foodie Freaky Feisty Poems (Scholastic) in 2009; my second poetry collection for adults, Absent Muses (Poetrywala) in 2010; and then there was a long gap until Space Gulliver: Chronicles of an Alien (HarperCollins) came out in 2015.

But these are merely the milestones that make the journey measurable (and visible). All along, whatever else I do, wherever else I may seem to be headed, it’s the poetry that has kept me going, kept me seeking, kept me experimenting and, most importantly, kept me believing in the word. As a poet, I have seen myself shifting towards heightened clarities, risking new adventures, finding myself newly unsettled, pushing myself in new ways, learning to surrender rather than control, and I think that this secret internal journey is the one I cherish the most.

2. You write poems, novels, short stories and you also translate, what do you enjoy the most? Why?

Oh, I think I enjoy each for a different set of reasons. Each offers me a unique set of challenges, keeps my writerly self alert and energized differently. The poems give me stillness; the short stories hone my mind; translation makes me travel deep inside other skins, other ways of thinking and being, makes me more attentive, more aware, more inventive. And as for novels – they teach me endurance, architecture and humility. I must add, however, that when I write poetry for children is when I have the most unadulterated fun! (Which makes me wonder why I haven’t written any since The Fried Frog came out … perhaps because I keep travelling with it to schools, and so it still feels new?)

3. What is the role of translation in literature?

To make the foreign familiar, to allow access to the inaccessible, to bring distant literatures closer. Translation is the only way we can cross linguistic and parochial borders, break down barriers of “otherness”, connect, enter and understand; it is a powerful, subversive, transformative and essential act that throws open the gates to the library of our shared world. 

4. What do you think is the role of literature festivals?

To celebrate the word, to give writers an excuse to gather in congenial, creative, hopefully thoughtful ways, to share and swap their stories, and remind themselves that they are not alone.  


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Read the latest issue of POETRY

                 Issue 6

Blog Posts

sincere love

Posted by Arpana Bina Vora on March 22, 2017 at 4:32pm 0 Comments


Is love’s paradise actual?

Candid and dear??

Indesigning and upfront??

Regular and unaffected??

Yes,what women love

First make the truffles,

I just want to let her know

She mean the world to…



Posted by Arpana Bina Vora on March 22, 2017 at 4:30pm 0 Comments


Looking deep down the mirror and I said ‘ I love you’

Immediately an electic current ripples throughout my soul,

I be in my own skin,

Longer than in anywhere else,

I always promise myself




Posted by Arpana Bina Vora on March 22, 2017 at 4:28pm 0 Comments

Soul love

I have not fallen in the love of body

But merely wwith a soul,

And it makes a difference..

And then my soul saw you and

It kind of went on ‘oh there you are I have been looking

For you.’

He was…


It takes it personally when you do commit a personal offense

Posted by narendrasinh chauhan on March 22, 2017 at 1:44pm 0 Comments

It takes it personally when you do commit a personal offense


Economical Moving with Packers and Movers in Gurgaon

Posted by raj malhotra on March 22, 2017 at 6:36am 0 Comments


House is just a place that is constructed of bricks but house is made of love. Along side enjoy you can find so a number of other things that are needed to make home a great place for living and these essential things of the…


સ્વર્ગ પર હિસાબ !

Posted by pravin patel on March 21, 2017 at 6:40pm 0 Comments

મૃતાત્માઓ સ્વર્ગના પ્રવેશદ્વારે લાઈનમાં ઉભા હતા !

ધર્મરાજે પ્રથમ ઉભેલા મૃતાત્માને પૂછ્યું " તમે કોણ હતા ? "

મૃતાત્માએ કહ્યું " મહારાજ હું એક ટેક્ષી ચાલક હતો વર્ષો સુધી ટેક્ષીમાં મુસાફરોને તેઓના ઈચ્છીત સ્થળે મુકી આવતો હતો !… Continue


Posted by Manisha joban desai on March 21, 2017 at 3:56pm 1 Comment

હેપ્પી વિશ્ર્વ કવિતા દિવસ 2017...

આંખથી જે રંગ છલ્કયા યાદ છે?

ને,પછી જે રંગ બદલ્યા યાદ છે?

લાલ લીલો વાદળી ને જાંબલી,

દિલમા જે મેઘ વરસ્યા યાદ છે?

કાન-રાધા ગાઇ સંગે રાગ જે,




Posted by Payal on March 20, 2017 at 1:33am 0 Comments

The stars are willing to fall on the

Blank paper of earth

And wanting to write an unending poem of

Love , care and share:

But the sky is holding them tight

Aware of the difficulties lying

Beneath the look of… Continue


Posted by Payal on March 19, 2017 at 8:07am 0 Comments

The lights went dark

I hid myself within me..

Had made up mind to fight the loneliness

Was determined to win the conquest of solitude

Will I win the war within me..?

The truth that

Solitude is… Continue


Posted by Dhruvkumar Rana on March 18, 2017 at 9:26pm 0 Comments

મસ્તી -મસ્તીમાં થઈ ગઈ દોસ્તી, દોસ્તો : આ દોસ્તી છે ઘણી સસ્તી, પણ રસ્તામાં પડી નથી મળતી,લાગણીઓની મજૂબત દોરે બંધાય છે આ દોસ્તી, હસાવે અને રડાવે પણ છે આ દોસ્તી, સુખમાં મજા અને દુ:ખમાં સાથ પણ અપાવનારી છે આ દોસ્તી, દોસ્તીની આ જ વાત તો છે બહુ નિરાલી તેમાં… Continue

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