“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
Nandana Dev Sen will discuss her translation of Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s Acrobat. She will be joined in conversation by Naomi Shihab Nye.
Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago International House
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About the book: A radiant collection of poetry about womanhood, intimacy, and the body politic that together evokes the arc of an ordinary life. Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s rhythmic lines explore the joys and agonies of first love, childbirth, and decay with a restless, tactile imagination, both picking apart and celebrating the rituals that make us human. When she warns, “know that blood can be easily drawn by lips,” her words tune to the fierce and biting depths of language, to the “treachery that lingers on tongue tips.” At once compassionate and unsparing, conversational and symphonic, these poems tell of a rope shivering beneath an acrobat’s nimble feet or of a twisted, blood-soaked umbilical cord – they pluck the invisible threads that bind us together.
About Nandana Dev Sen: Nandana Dev Sen is a writer, actor, and child-rights activist. She has written six children’s books (translated into more than 15 languages globally), and starred in 20 feature films (from four continents, in numerous languages). She has represented UNICEF, RAHI and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to fight against child abuse, and to end human trafficking. Winner of the Last Girl Champion Award (and multiple Best Actress Awards), Nandana is Child Protection Ambassador for Save the Children India. Nandana is on Facebook and Instagram at nandanadevsen and she tweets @nandanadevsen as well. You’re welcome to visit her at www.nandanadevsen.com.
About Nabaneeta Dev Sen: Nabaneeta Dev Sen (1938-2019) remains one of the most beloved and versatile Bengali writers of all time. Equally expressive in poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction, she has over one hundred books to her credit, including compilations of poems, novels, plays, stories, memoirs, academic essays, children’s literature, political columns, literary translations, and multiple volumes of her collected works. Her many honors include the Padma Shri, Bangla Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, Sahitya Akademi Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award of the Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Guild.
About the interlocutor: Naomi Shihab Nye is the Young People’s Poet Laureate of the United States (Poetry Foundation/Chicago). She recently received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Books Critics Circle. Her most recent books are Everything Comes Next, Collected & New Poems, Cast Away, The Tiny Journalist, and Voices in the Air – Poems for Listeners.