Library of Bangladesh Presents
Translated By Kaiser Haq
Publishing Year 2018
Published by ULAB Press.
ULAB Press, formerly known as Bengal Lights Books (BLB), is the publishing imprint of ULAB.
A central figure in the development of literary modernism in Bangladesh, Shaheed Quaderi was cut out by background and temperament to be the quintessential urban poet, though his vision was not restricted to cities alone. Born in Kolkata in 1942, he moved with his family to Dhaka in 1952, where within a few years he became one of the leading lights of a new generation of modern poets.
Quaderi belonged to that rare category of poets who are precocious, influential, and yet not prolific. In a career spanning over sixty years he published only four collections; with a fifth volume put together posthumously. Quaderi chose a life of exile from 1978 onwards, living in Cologne, London, Boston, and finally New York.
Taken together, Quaderi’s five books comprise a brilliant poetic commentary on our troubled times. A master of powerfully evocative imagery, rich musical cadences and diction that ranges from the literary to the slangy, Quaderi is a distinctive and unforgettable voice in Bengali poetry.
This selection presents Quaderi at his best, and is representative as well. It opens with the first poem of his first book, ends with the last poem of his posthumously published collection, and includes one of the two poems with which he made his debut in 1953. Kaiser Haq, who knew the poet well, and is a leading Bangladeshi poet writing in English, is uniquely qualified to present Quaderi to Anglophone readers interested in world literature.
Shaheed Quaderi was one of the leading modern poets of Bangladesh. After an eventful childhood spent in Kolkata during World War II and the run-up to the partition of India, he lived in Dhaka, where he produced the bulk of his poetry. His first collection, Uttaradhikar (Patrimony), appeared in 1967 to wide critical acclaim, and was followed by Tomake Obhibadan, Priyotama (Greetings, Dearest) in 1974, and Kothao Kono Krondon Nei (No Tears Shed Anywhere) in 1978. Since then he lived in Cologne, London, Boston and New York, where, after painful years coping with renal failure, he died in 2016. Much of his later work is collected in Amar Chumbonguli Pouchhey Dao (Carry My Kisses to Their Destination), published in 2009. A posthumous volume, Godhulir Gaan (Songs at Twilight), published in 2017 brings together his last poems and previously uncollected poems and translations. Quaderi was awarded the Bangla Academy Literary Award (1973) and the Ekushey Padak (2011).