The Poetry of Altered Language
Of the few who attempted to refurbish the language of everyday Bengali poetry, Pronob Pal (b. 1954) stands out unique and undaunted, with his prolonged and austere experimentation with the poetic language throughout the 1990s and beyond. Grammar rules, etymology and the verb-based semantics of traditional Bangla came under his ruthless attack. While his work ravaged commonplace enunciation, it also created a plethora of openings in contemporary Bangla poetic language. Devising linguistic experimentation strategies based on the semantics of colonial English, Pronob took to verbification of uncommon nouns, a thorough modification of the adverbial function, complete annihilation of pronouns and a collateral of word-recombinations (including a resurgence of newer onomatopoetic usage) characterize his repertoire. Pronob Pal is a founding editor of Anti and later Kabita Campus (Poetry Campus), both respectable experimental Bengali poetry journals (the latter is in print since 1991). His important books include Magic Canvas (1991), Bhaashhaabadaler Kabita (Poetry of Language Alteration, 1994) and most famously Shastraheen Chalaar Bedanaa (The pain of striding outside the manual, 2004) are his best known books. A postgraduate of Bengali language and literature, Pronob lives in Howrah with his wife and daughter Bhasha (Language) and teaches Bangla in a highschool.
A handful of Pal's poems, all taken from his most distinctive and experimental book by far Shastraheen Chalaar Bedanaa (The pain of striding outside the manual, 2004), are presented here.
Selected Poems :: Pronob Pal
The pain of striding outside the manual
Awakening makes sleep on longcloth nostalgia. Young earth roams alone destroying cycleation inside a rusty life. A kickin' coffin walks. Catnappy clutching onto aftersunny earth's traditional feet. Tossing behind them a bagful of sun, the crow and owl, streambeeping rivers in between, a melt of brainjob enjoying, likelava time. This unfilming nomadic, hand-to-mouth imagery. Some see felicity some dementia. Hand writes the pain of striding outside the manual. Not in words or sentences not in the creases and crimps of robe, a change in the rice-plate "alone it moves, encircles like water to form speech", extended limbs fouling with the entire body. A newer igniting against new. A language of change erupting.
"alone it moves, encircles like water to form speech" - is a quote from a poem by Jibanananda Das
The falsity of language
Blossoming sculpcolor. The falsity of a language that was meant to demythify. Expansion hollow. Blue filling the blanks of an extended truth. No stoppageade no stationation, only desolating emptily hands. Essay of head descending to feet feather. Crimps of earth opening to croppety milking rice. Transmitting symphony grain by grain. Materialis goes waterating in the high drain. Weaving inflation finger to finger a nonchalant extension treads uncontinuously. Print it or mint it, open the landscape in its house. The altered Baul is unerred, actually vacationing.
Baul - The spiritual nomad-minstrels of Bengal aka The Bards of Bengal
In the traffic signal of picture writing finger, a magic of sky. Going over the fragments of a fractured moon seamed wavily to its light. Glitterati laced on the frills of fullmoon. The green turbulence of returning songs in abscondic brain. In atomic splinters, I destroy bits of momenthome. The plurals of an open reindeering me and its possibilities. Sleeppen speakatoo, the sun on clock wings, distracting shenanigans of written shadows.
Brushfires tresspassing on chessboard. Euphoric body language of a mannered anchal. How far is afar! In the indolent camps, the whispwind of poetrariet in Mrs empty now. Walk feet before me, leading a headathon. In the empty hour of a mystic afternoon, night feels like an antonymic myth of cooked lies. Hand copying the mechanics of head. A slice of greening Youland, as the last bornvictor of all greynessing defeatist humans.
Anchal - The portion of the saree that wraps the upper torso
Loverinas candlecarved. Over grimaced words in a sorrowed war. Pettyvilles go back, sexy moontango hanging from the multiplex, awards and friendly delicatelier. The boytrain of running girls merrily on track. Earth wetting in station dew before the hilltunnel deglutition. Gurgling cobblestones open mineral lexicons in the waterexcite of Ms. Mindvine.
Rockdecade hands, undeterred, follow friendly rules. Engraved periods without reincarnation, life's lushroom melted by vibrating pendulums. A melting solestar therm, in one madworld of lovable fogville.
Translated from Bengali by Aryanil Mukherjee.
Pronob Pal's photograph: copyright Kaurab