Kiriti Sengupta’s most recent work is a bit different from what he generally writes, in terms of structure. Reflections on Salvation is a book that contains small passages, which have been termed as “flash wisdom” by poet & educationist, Mary Madec [Ireland]. Instead of poetry, which is Sengupta’s comfort zone [although the auteur would say that his thoughts give rise to poetry and prose simultaneously, a kind of hybrid literature, a mixing of reason and lyrics], this slim volume makes an effort to question certain beliefs regarding the mystique quality of salvation, while interestingly pointing out its duality. His bestselling trilogy: My Glass of Wine [novelette based on autobiographic poetry], The Reverse Tree [nonfictional memoir], and Healing Waters Floating Lamps [poetry] is not essentially how trilogies are written: by huge success of the first book as an inducing factor for the rest. This was in every sense an unplanned work, and what unites the three pieces in Sengupta’s firm and resonant take on the literary scene in India; and his works succeed in demonstrating his statements. While My Glass of Wine among other things plays on the word “clips,” which can be an analogy to the “life in death” moments of epiphany in our lives, The Reverse Tree is almost a bewildering, goosebump inducing attempt at delving into the masculine and the feminine-self, and there is an Aristophanic hint of intermixing of the both. This is uncanny at times because Sengupta writes in a first person narrative and portrays real events. Healing Waters Floating Lamps is essentially a book of poems that address different issues, highlighting the poet’s powerful and apt use of metaphors.
Sengupta is a bilingual poet and translator in both Bengali and English. His other works include The Earthen Flute [poetry] which showcases the prowess of the poet taking full, powerful strides. The recurring theme of spirituality and its elevation from the human form gets voiced in these poems that bring out poetry from the mundane quotidian events. Kiriti Sengupta has always been interesting as a person, and A Freshman’s Welcome [a chapbook on memoir with literary critique] testifies to it. This got written as a recording of his nightlong effort to prepare a speech for the event of a younger poet. My Dazzling Bards [literary critique], The Reciting Pens [interviews of three published Bengali poets along with translations of a few of their poems], The Unheard I [literary nonfiction], Desirous Water [poems by Sumita Nandy, contributed as the translator], and Poem Continuous – Reincarnated Expressions [poems by Bibhas Roy Chowdhury, contributed as the translator]. His poems have been widely anthologized, both nationally and internationally in Kritya, Taj Mahal Review, Labyrinth, Grey Sparrow Journal, Dukool, Wilderness House Literary Review, among other places. Sengupta has also co-edited five anthologies: Scaling Heights, Jora Sanko – The Joined Bridge, Epitaphs, Sankarak, and Selfhood.
Articles on Kiriti Sengupta
How much do poets and dentists have in common? Well, since poetry is the act of metaphor it can be argued that any profession is akin to poet. In this particular instance, however, I would like to argue that poets are sayers and certainly need clean teeth when speaking lucidly and fluidly. Also, poetry is often like pulling teeth…or is it? Does it come fluidly? Does it work its way into your mind and heart with ease? Prosperio Saiz in The Bird of Nothing writes, “The rhythmic flow of poetic saying—not the said—pure and simple.” This implies that poetry is indeed flowing, something easy and fulfilling. This statement also illuminates the nature of poetics and its relation to poetry. Poetry does not know rules, laws, and concrete guidelines. This is why it adapts to the modern world. Poetics attempts to box poetry in, to define it as a certain thing. Often poets and scholars interpret poetry by describing its qualities and comparing poems. Such work is part of a conversation. However, poetry as its own conversation cannot be crammed into a specific arena. You simply cannot make poetry, a round peg, fit a square hole.
I would be delinquent if I neglected to mention Kiriti Sengupta’s generosity, which is both a sign of his personal kindness and also another indication of his democratic attitude. One of his books is A Freshman’s Welcome, a written version of his speech at the formal launch of the first book of poetry by the young poet, Tanmoy Bhattacharjee. Sengupta’s hope, in publishing his remarks, was to “boost the zeal of all struggling poets who wish to become published authors.” Apparently the two poets, the older, more experienced one and the neophyte, met on Facebook, another indication of Sengupta’s eclectism and democratic attitude in his choice of the media he uses to widen his acquaintances and experiences. In fact, he was attracted to reading Bhattacharjee’s poetry partly because the young poet was an academic student of English literature and allied his poetry with a personal “spiritual quest”.