K. Satchidanandan

Kerala | India


K Satchidanandan (b. 1946) is a bilingual poet, critic, playwright, editor, fiction writer and travel writer. He has been a professor of English and of Translation Studies, editor of Indian Literature bimonthly  and Beyond Borders, a SAARC literature quarterly, the executive head of the National Academy of Letters, invited National fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla. He has 32 collections of poetry in Malayalam, besides 39 collections in other languages including Arabic, Irish, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese besides all major Indian languages. He has won 64 literary awards – including the National Academy award, Poet Laureate Award from Tata Literature Festival, Bombay, Kanhaiyalal Sethia Memorial Poetry Awards from Jaipur Litfest, five awards in five genres from Kerala Sahitya Akademi besides the topmost awards for poetry and total literary contribution from Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra. He has read his poetry and lectured at several festivals and book fairs in over 30 countries in six continents and translated poetry from across the world. He has also edited dozens of books in Malayalam and English besides several journals. His latest books of poetry in English include While I Write (Harper-Collins), Misplaced Objects and Other Poems (Indian National Academy), The Missing Rib, Not Only the Oceans (Poetrywala, Bombay),  and Questions from the Dead (CopperCoin, Delhi). His selected essays on Indian literature, Positions, was published by Niyogi Books, Delhi, in 2020 and a collection of resistance writing, Words Matter and Singing in the Dark, a global anthology (ed. with Nishi Chawla) were published by Penguin-Random House, India. K. Satchidanandan is now Fellow and President of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi.

à propos

K Satchidanandan (né en 1946) est un poète bilingue, critique, dramaturge, éditeur, écrivain de fiction et écrivain de voyage. Il a été professeur d’anglais et de traductologie, rédacteur en chef de la revue Indian Literature bimestrielle et Beyond Borders , trimestriel de la SAARC, directeur exécutif de l’Académie nationale des lettres, boursier national invité à l’Institut indien des études avancées, Il a 32 recueils de poésie en malayalam, en plus de trente-neuf recueils dans d’autres langues, y compris l’arabe, l’irlandais, le français, l’allemand, l’italien, l’espagnol, le chinois et le japonais, en plus de toutes les principales langues indiennes. Il a remporté soixante-quatre prix littéraires – y compris le prix de l’Académie nationale, le prix du poète lauréat du Tata Literature Festival, Bombay, Kanhaiyalal Sethia Memorial Poetry Awards de Jaipur Litfest, cinq prix dans cinq genres de Kerala Sahitya Akademi en plus des prix les plus élevés pour la poésie et la contribution littéraire totale du Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa et Maharashtra. Il a lu sa poésie et donné des conférences dans plusieurs festivals et salons de livres dans plus de trente pays sur six continents et a traduit de la poésie du monde entier. Il a également édité des dizaines de livres en malayalam et en anglais en plus de plusieurs revues. Ses plus récents recueils de poésie en anglais comprennent While I Write (Harper-Collins), Misplaced Objects and Other Poems (Indian National Academy), The Missing Rib, Not Only the Oceans (Poetrywala, Bombay) et Questions from the Dead (CopperCoin, Delhi). Ses essais sélectionnés sur la littérature indienne, Positions a été publié par Niyogi Books, Delhi en 2020 et un recueil d’écrits de résistance, Words Matter and Singing in the Dark, une anthologie mondiale (avec Nishi Chawla) a été publié par Penguin-Random House, en Inde. K. Satchidanandan est maintenant Fellow et Président du Kerala Sahitya Akademi.


Joy is a narrow space
between two sorrows.
A space lit by the morning sun
where a sunflower is in bloom
amidst fresh blades of grass,
that two people can hardly occupy,
and may be a pale butterfly too.
You can dance there with
movements and gestures
possible in that narrow space.
And sing in a low voice.
Can even laugh mildly
tickling the baby-sunlight.
But there is little time.
You know it too.
The sun will soon grow harsh,
sorrows will squeeze you from both sides.
You may even get trapped there
Never able to get out.
When the whole body bleeds,
you may suspect that joy is but a snare.
It’s not all wrong, but
you were able to see
the flower, and dance.
But, pain, it is eternal.
and its space, infinite.
Like the abyss that
once trapped the earth.
You will have to leave the earth
to see there are stars even there.
Who knows, your soul
may fly cross many light-years
to land in a star.
It will get a new body there.
Then you will know,
joy is but a narrow space
between two sorrows.

Dr K. Satchidanandan

The Circle

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