In these poems infused with a scent of unrequited love, the great Bengali poet Jibanananda Das captured his country's soul through evocations of village life and natural beauty. Written in 1934, the sixty-two sonnets - discovered in an exercise-book twenty years after Das wrote them - achieved instant popularity on their posthumous publication in 1957, becoming a totemic symbol of freedom in Bangladesh's 1971 War of Independence. This is the first English version of the complete collection, which was given its title Rupasi Bangla' by the poet's brother who edited it for publication.
Jibanananda Das (1899-1954) was born and raised in rural Barisal. He taught English in Calcutta, Delhi and Barisal. Periods of unemployment, and an unfulfilling marriage, made for an uneasy life. He is now magically popular in his native land, second only to Tagore himself.
Born in London in 1943, Joe Winter taught English before taking early retirement. He has lived in Calcutta since 1994. Anvil has published his selection of poems by Jibanananda Das, Naked Lonely Hand', his translations of Rabindranath Tagore's Song Offerings' (Gitanjali) and (with Devadatta Joardar) Of Myself' (Atmaparichay), and his Calcutta poems Guest and Host'.