Issue 17, Poetry
Poetry is one of the most fundamental expressions of human understanding. From the newborn baby’s `ONKAR` (a baby’s first sound) to a person’s last sigh ‘Ahhh…!’ there is poetry everywhere. We hear poetry when we listen to the sounds of autumn leaves falling, the caws of birds announcing danger, the exchange of gossip in street corners, car horns in traffic jams, and the splashing footsteps as people run for cover during a rainstorm. And literature, which is divided into many names and surnames, is rooted in the essence of poetry – storytelling, sounds, rhythms, word plays, and evocative images. Our passion for poetry is primitive and genuine.
Twenty-nine years ago, on December 1990, the first release of Shuddhashar was published through a series of poems. It was a blusterous and unforgettable time. A group of young literature activists expressed their passion, protests, and dreams in poetry. Everything seemed urgent, emotional, and possible, and poetry was the powerful weapon wielded to challenge the status quo and create a better world. In those poems, there was a simultaneous feeling about art for the sake of art, and art for the sake of life itself.
Since that beginning 29 years ago, Shuddhashar has had to deal with many unfavorable situations. Particularly after October 31, 2015, Shuddhahar’s program and activities have had to be massively changed, and a new ring has had to be decorated by new gems. However, these situations have expanded our view of the sky and made our vision more open and more generous, more expansive and inclusive. Every day we miss the gems of friendship, companionship, political and intellectual gossip (adda, Bengali style) which we lost. Losing everything has meant that Shuddhashar has learned to focus on equality, justice, and compassion as goals for humanity.
On December 2019, another issue completely devoted to poetry is being released by Shuddhashar. We wanted to publish an issue of political poems, but it was not possible due to various limitations. However, this issue can certainly be referred to as an issue of international poems. We have been able to give a platform for poets from nine countries and who wrote their poems in seven different languages. Among them, we have several Norwegian and British poets, and a US poet of spoken word. Six poets are currently living in exile after being persecuted in their country of origin because of their writing. We have also been able to publish the poetry of the first exiled poet from Bangladesh, when the journey of national purification and persecution began there. Daud Haider was expelled from Bangladesh by the government in 1974, only three years after the founding of Bangladesh. In this issue, we have published in three languages: Bengali, Norwegian, and English. In addition to poems originally written in these three languages, we have published English translations from Persian, Tigrinya, and Arabic, and a Norwegian translation from Azerbaijani language. It would have been best if all the poems had been translated into all three languages. However, we are starting to think about this, and we hope that by the next time we publish a special poetry issue, we will be able to provide translations into more than one language. By offering language translations, we hope to reach the readers beyond the boundaries of the language. We firmly believe that humans and their thinking and creativity are above the boundaries of religion, nationality, class, and group. As art, poetry does not endorse boundaries. Ideally it should also transcend human-made boundaries of language.
Our love, thanks, and solidarity to all the writers, readers, well-wishers, and supporter of Shuddhashar. Whether we meet to gossip on street corners or meet through visions of a humane world inspired by words on a page, we are with you always.