Three Bengali women poets.
Anuradha Mahapatra was born in 1957 in Nandigram, a village in the Medinipur district of West Bengal: a dry, upland, remote region, and one of the least developed in the state. Her father is a tailor and cloth merchant; she is one of seven children. After attending Nandigram Sitananda School and College, she came to Calcutta in 1978, and completed an M.A. in Bengali Literature from Calcutta University in 1981, the first woman in her family to obtain higher education. Staying on in Calcutta, she worked as a proofreader for publishing houses, as a translator of historical documents from medieval to modern Bengali, and as an editorial assistant for the literary magazine Kalkata 2000. From 1985 until 1990, she worked for Unnayan, a social-service advocacy organization which helped political and economic refugees, and uprooted rural people, to find housing, jobs, the slum dwellers themselves, and wrote articles on their cultural life and socio-economic conditions. By 1990, Unnayan was beset with a number of financial and legal problems, which left Anuradha and a number of her colleagues without positions. She is currently continuing her work--on a voluntary basis--as a community organizer among the slum dwellers, and doing other free-lance writing and editorial jobs to support herself. At present, she lives with an elder brother, and other brothers and sisters and their families, in the Santospur colony of south Calcutta, an area inhabited chiefly by Hindu refugees from Bangladesh. In a community of West Bengali writers dawn almost entirely from the urban, Calcutta-based, middle and upper classes, Anuradha Mahapatra is one of the very few with a rural, working-class background. Her poetry is unique in its reflection of her first-hand knowledge of village castes and classes, and in its compressed syntax and density of imagery. Her first book, Chaiphulstup (Ash Flower Heap), appeared in 1983; a second volume, Adhibas Manikarnika (Bereavement of the Wedding Fast), was published in 1987. A volume of autobiographical prose writings and prose poems. Ammukuler Gandha (The Fragrance of Mango Blossoms), was published in 1990. Her poems have appeared in many Bengali journals, and in the prestigious weekly news and cultural magazine, Desh (although she now remains wary of publication in the slick, commercial, and high-circulation Bengali magazines). In English translation by Carolyne Wright and her collaborators, Paramita Banerjee and Jyotirmoy Datta, Anuradha Mahapatra's poetry has appeared in numerous American literary journals, including Nimrod ("India: A Wealth of Diversity," for which Wright was an advisory editor).
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|Title Annotation:||poetry and biographies of poets|
|Publication:||The American Poetry Review|
|Date:||Jul 1, 1993|
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