Winner of The International Beverly Prize
Sohini Basak’s intricately woven, exquisite debut collection breaks boundaries with form and gently collapses reality, dream and folklore into each other. There is a sense of endlessness in the interactions of poems with each other and with their sources – which range from Bangla children’s classics to contemporary writers and ecological events. This is a collection that doesn’t stand still, despite its elegance and charm, somehow continually recreating its own time and space beyond the page.
Sohini Basak grew up in Barrackpore, India. She studied literature and creative writing at the universities of Delhi, Warwick, and East Anglia, where she was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury Continuation Grant for Poetry. Currently, she lives in Delhi, making up stories set around a hospital for plants.
This book teems with the furious and thoughtful tenderness of a generation of promising younger poets for whom self-reflexivity and ecological consciousness, small and large, are part of the same shuttlings of thought. Thought weaves a self and the self passes into language where refrains and spaces, hints and insistence, structure the page as much as whatever is told: ant alphabets, saiga antelopes, time and objects. Literary, formal and folkloric inheritance ranges across languages that have been mutually translatable in life but are only now coming together to smash and perhaps not re-create the canon. — Vahni Capildeo