Kiriti Sengupta, who has been awarded the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize (2018) for his contribution to literature, is a poet, editor, translator, and publisher from Calcutta.
His most recent work, Rituals is very different from the work readers usually read in that there is a narrative thread in many poems that is not there simply to tell a story but to ultimately present a meditation on an aspect of life and the modern world that they haven’t considered before. “Fleeing the house and leaving the doors ajar. Is it perversion or fallacy?” A simple gesture that leaves readers with much to consider about how the smallest things we do can say a great deal about how we lead our life. The idiom and wordplay conjure a sensual voice striking in specificity, “downpour evicts,” or “eyes whist like a whisper.”
Solitary Stillness, Sengupta’s previous book, ripens in its natural maturity. Although the poet does not give away the traits that have pervaded his poetry, he has not forgotten his roots, and has once again drawn his poetry in the canvas of the time that has been rooted in his time, in his city. Here, he makes a reference to Lapierre, and indeed, the city of joy tag sounds fake just as we read that particular poem, which is so natural, that it almost appears to have been spoken by a resident of a city, one who is not a poet. That person who complains about water-logging or that person for whom any tag of romanticism about the city is plain bourgeois shit, nothing but a label that’s needed to promote consumerism.
His bestselling trilogy: My Glass of Wine [novelette based on autobiographic poetry], The Reverse Tree [nonfictional memoir], and Healing Waters Floating Lamps [poetry] has been published as a single volume, named Dreams of the sacred and Ephemeral, which is something that the poet had long wished to do: not only to put things together, but also present to the readers as to his perception of the order in which the trilogy should be read. This was in every sense an unplanned work at first, 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, gooseflesh 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.