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Angshuman Kar
(India, 1975)   
 
 
 
Angshuman Kar

Angshuman Kar is the author of nine collections of poems, two novels, two novellas and a memoir. He has received several awards, including the Krittibas Award in 2007, the Paschim Banga Bangla Akademi Puroskar, an award from the West Bengal Government in 2009, among others. He has participated in poetry festivals in various parts of the country, as well as in Scotland and Bangladesh. He is Associate Professor of English at the University of Burdwan, West Bengal, and the Secretary of the Eastern Region, Sahitya Akademi. He was earlier on the Advisory Board (Bengali) of the Sahitya Akademi.

As the recipient of the Australia-India Council Fellowship, Kar has pursued research on Aboriginal petitions in different universities in Australia and has just completed a project designed to translate Australian Aboriginal poetry into Bengali. He has presented academic papers at conferences in India and abroad, and his most recent critical work is a co-edited volume entitled The Politics of Social Exclusion in India: Democracy at the Crossroads.

There is a lively, versatile intelligence at work in Kar's poems, a capacity to wonder as well as critique, to observe as well as grieve. A quiet and poignant address to a dead father sits alongside a droll chronological catalogue of an Indian middle class Indian family's television habits. An ironic reflection on mediocrity is followed by a whimsical vignette of interactions with friends who keep changing mobile phone numbers.

The attention to detail and particularity is striking in these poems, suggesting a deep acknowledgement of the dignity and humanness of the subject. Whether it is the strange discomfort produced by the image of a man clinging tenaciously to life "like a sleeping landmine" ("at the bend off the road, by the side of the Shiva temple, close to the railway platform") or the death of a friend evoked in a tender litany of details ("The cook has taken her saree, bangles, spectacles, salwar/ The maid has taken the colourful bag – a gem purchased from Rajasthan – and Avon lipstick"), care is taken to present each person in the fullness of their specific context.

Beneath the wealth of detail, there are imperceptible shifts and movements in tone.  And so, in 'Television', what seems like a self-ironizing history of a family's TV brands spins gently into a poem about love and loss. It is this unobtrusive weave of sharp insight, wry humour and sudden gentleness that makes one inclined to revisit Kar's poems.

© Arundhathi Subramaniam

Bibliography

Poetry
Khelna Pistol, Prachhaya, Barasat,1998
Bou Ke Nie Lekha Kabita, Kabita Dashdine, Kolkata, 1998
Garie Namchhi, Kabita Pakshik, Kolkata, 1999
Apel Saharer Samrat, Kabita Dashdine, Bankura, 2001
Bankura Purulia Kolkata, Prativash, Kolkata, 2004
Nasho Square Feeter Jadukar, Saptarshi Prakashan, Kolkata, 2006
Mukhomukhi Dui Kobi with Tarapada Roy, Papyrus, 2007
Jehadi Tomake, Saptarshi Prakashan, Kolkata,  2008
Amar Sonar Harin, Saptarshi Prakashan, Kolkata,  2012

Prose
Paribortan, Parampara, Kolkata, 2011 (novel)
25 Paysar Itihas Boi, Parampara, Kolkata, 2010  (memoir)
The Politics of Social Exclusion in India: Democracy at the Crossroads, Routledge, Co-editor, with Harihar Bhattacharyya and Partha Sarkar, 2009 (history)

Links
Muse India: Angshuman Kar presents an edition of contemporary Bengali Poetry.

 



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