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Poppies in Translation
RRP: GBP 9.99
ISBN: 978 1 847774 90 3
Categories: 21st Century, American, BAME, German, Indian, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: March 2015
146 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
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Indonesia, South Africa, Estonia, Lithuania, Shetland, Nicaragua – many worlds meet in these poems as nature dyes Sujata Bhatt’s many languages with its own hues. The real merges with the surreal and the allegorical, certainties are undone in an open-ended quest. A Chinese cook ignores a predatory snake, a heart surgeon lives most intensely between operations, Gregor Samsa’s sister proposes a different sort of metamorphosis, someone listens to the Holy Ghost sing, a woman hears her daughter’s voice in birdsong – and the ‘poppies in translation’ mutate according to the languages and histories they inhabit, ultimately persisting in a space beyond language. At times, language itself is injured by history: Bhatt reimagines the ‘haunted undertow’ of post-war German as experienced by Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann. Meanwhile, the poppies are ever-present, ‘with their black souls in the wind’.
'Sujata Bhatt leads the reader through the bright, familiar world and on into the dark until her words pierce that darkness, offering a light that will challenge and reward.'
John F. Deane
Awards won by Sujata Bhatt Winner, 2000 Italian Tratti Poetry Prize Winner, 1991 Cholmondeley Award Winner, 1988 Alice Hunt Bartlett Award (Brunizem) Winner, 1991 Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia)
Short-listed, 1995 Forward Poetry Prize
Praise for Sujata Bhatt 'a substantial collection of poems, one that allows us to travel, dream and learn, but one that ultimately moves us by the quietude of its stance and its impeccable articulation.'
Times Literary Supplement
Bhatt's style is refreshingly plain and direct, depending for its lyricism on moments of gentle repitition.
Alan Marshall, The Daily Telegraph. 'An exciting first collection, moving and invigorating.'
Poetry Review 'Sujata Bhatt leads the reader through the bright, familiar world and on into the dark until her words pierce that darkness, offering a light that will challenge and reward. Here are poems that move confidently through that dangerous border-world between the real and the surreal, illuminating both. This book is a treasure-house of modern, magical poems.'
John F. Deane 'Here is a chance to see Sujata Bhatt's favourite themes strengthened by re-gathering. A common theme is language, the very stuff of poetry, given special insight by her travels and her multilingual experience. In India, she says, it is 'a sin to be rude to a book'; 'The Stare' considers two babies, human and monkey, gazing at each other curiously, one with language, the other with' who knows? Elsewhere she considers the loss of her mother tongue, 'dead' in her mouth but returning to her in dreams. A broad-minded, humane, imaginative book.'
Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales
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