Elfen/Dewi Glyn Jones

Sampurna Chattariji

Sampurna Chattariji is a poet, novelist and translator with eight books to her credit.

Born in Ethiopia in November 1970, Sampurna grew up in Darjeeling, graduated from New Delhi, and is now based in Mumbai. Her debut poetry collection, Sight May Strike You Blind, published by the Sahitya Akademi (Indian Academy of Letters) in 2007 was reprinted in 2008. Sampurna’s poetry has appeared in Indian and international journals such as The Little Magazine, New Quest, Chandrabhaga, Indian Literature (India); Stand Magazine, Wasafiri (UK); Drunken Boat, The Literary Review (USA); Wespennest (Germany), Interlitq (Argentina), Carapace (South Africa) and has been anthologized in 60 Indian Poets (Penguin); Both Sides of The Sky (NBT); We Speak in Changing Languages (Sahitya Akademi); Interior Decoration: poems by 54 women from 10 languages (Women Unlimited); Imagining Ourselves (IMOW, San Francisco); Fulcrum (Fulcrum Poetry Press, US); The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Bloodaxe, UK) and The HarperCollins Book of Modern English Poetry by Indians (forthcoming, HarperCollins). Her poems have been translated into German, Swiss-German, Gaelic, Irish, Scots, Welsh, French, Tamil, and Bambaiyya. Her translation of Sukumar Ray’s poetry and prose Abol Tabol: The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray into English was reissued in 2008 as a Puffin Classic titled Wordygurdyboom! She has also translated the Bengali poet Joy Goswami. Sampurna has authored several books for young people, including The Fried Frog and Other Funny Freaky Foodie Feisty Poems (Scholastic 2009). Her first novel, Rupture, was published by HarperCollins in 2009 and her second poetry book, Absent Muses, by Poetrywala in 2010. Her second novel, The Land of the Well, will be published in October 2011 by HarperCollins.

Calling Sight May Strike You Blind "a strong and accomplished debut" in The Hindu Literary Review, poet and critic Arundhathi Subramaniam described Sampurna’s work as "poetry of verbal muscle, formal flexibility and control, intellectual curiosity, an ability [...] to throw away a line, toss in an image without overworking it, while operating, like every poet must, on more levels than one", while eminent Indian poet Keki Daruwalla wrote in his foreword, "Hers is a poetry of subtle impressions, far-off correspondences (but never far-fetched!), dissimilar images moulded into a poetic whole".

Sampurna’s second poetry book Absent Muses has been described as containing "explorations of the adventure of being a word-child" that "demand of the reader a corresponding suppleness and agility" (Arul Mani in Tehelka); poems that "dexterously balance the spirit of intellectual inquiry and dialogue with the impulse to emote" (K. Srilata in The Hindu), that "free-ride darkly on the energy of words" (Vivek Narayanan in Biblio) and "reach forward in space and time, to shape the expanding curve of experience into record. They are tools of investigation into myth, history, metropolitan life and, importantly, the ambiguities of the personal quest for poetic expression" in which "craft forms the skin; the world, in all its vivid and irresistible detail, provides the viscera" (poet, curator and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote).

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