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Swatantra Sonnets: Bengali with English translations by the author, Abdullah, Hassanal

Author Name    Abdullah, Hassanal

Title   Swatantra Sonnets: Bengali with English translations by the author

Binding   Hard cover

Book Condition   New

Type   Poetry

Edition   First

Size   56 5/8 x 8 5/8

Publisher   Oyster Bay, NY & Merrick, NY The Feral Press & Cross-Cultural Communications 2017

ISBN Number    0893045926 / 9780893045920

Inscription   for those who love form as well as content

Seller ID   FPCCC06.2

Sonnets, like diamonds, are these days cut and polished around the world. On the Subcontinent, they have been written in a host of languages, including Bengali, the original language of Hassanal Abdullah’s Swatantra Sonnets. He has been perfecting this form since the 1990s and has composed over 210 of them. Some have been adopted this form, in English, Caroline Gill, a London poet, and two Bengali poets. Robiul Manik and Anisur Rahman Apu. This selection, translated by the author, can be thought of as a collection of gems that illuminate his originality of form. Rough diamonds are generally cleaved into pieces of unequal size to produce gems by cutting facets that intensify color, clarity, and brilliance. Abdullah, a teacher of mathematics, as well as a poet, has deliberately cleaved his sonnet into two equal segments, sometimes bridged by an enjambed line. He has also constructed an original rhyme scheme abcdabc efgdefg. The great puzzle is the d-line buried mid-point in each half, forcing the reader to search for this hidden facet of rhyme. The overall effect of separating rhymes casts light more on meaning and metaphor than on sound. In Abdullah’s love sonnets, for example, the perfect symmetry of the two halves carries the meaning of gender equality, which is one of his core themes. His metaphoric allusions expressing this ying/yang attraction and balance are to cosmic bodies, day and night, the tides, a “Great tune / of well-known melodies, memories, human waves—” (#70). Many of his sonnets use the language of radiance we associate with diamonds. He speaks of the “dazzling glow” (#72) and “astounding spark” (#77) of the beloved. Some of the sonnets resonate with erotic passion and urgency; others unfold gently like flower petals. In one wry, satiric sonnet alluding to the seventy virgins promised to the faithful as “dazzling diamond[s],” the poet backs off in fright begging, “do not take me to Paradise; / one has seized me, with seventy, I will die fast!” (#94). This playful expression of fright stands in sharp contrast to his looming fear of nuclear war that threatens to cancel all time and bring our planet to an explosive end: “The world trembles in fear of atomic fusions. / Splitting its rib of grief . . .” (#111). No less than in Renaissance sonnets, time and decay are among Abdullah’s frequent themes, and in the imagery of metaphysical poetry, he finds some sinew of hope: “I search for time’s vein . . . drawing blood for a credible cure” (#117). Despite this “heinous era,” Abdullah finds that both poetry and mathematics still “rapture” his heart and mind. Though he has written an epic poem on the cosmos, it is easy to see how the sonnet distills his passion. Sonnets, like diamonds, “are forever.” They are eternal, quintessential forms cut and polished from nature that allow the reader, in the words of William Blake, to “hold Infinity in the palm of your hand” (Marriage of Heaven and Hell) Hassanal Abdullah’s sonnets pass glimpses of this immensity to those who will receive them with open hands. —Joan Digby November, 2016

Poetry, Bilingual, Bengali, Asia

Price = 30.00 USD



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