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Sonata for Four Hands

"The wonder of Chandan's poetry is to present the Punjabi language in its innate simplicity. It transcends experience." Bhagwan Josh, Professor in History,Jawaharlal Nehru University "Amarjit Chandan's poetry transports its listeners or readers into an arena of timelessness. What he does is to fold time; time in his poems becomes like an arras or a hinged screen. The listener or reader is encircled by a multiplicity of times. His poetic practice assumes that there are more space-time dimensions than the four we habitually recognise. Each of Chandan's poems proceeds in its own way and has its own form. Yet in all of them there is an assembly of different space-time dimensions." John Berger "There is a silence in Chandan's poetry - a deep sense of the unspoken, and more accurately, the unspeakable. - Words here are precarious and makeshift signposts in a vast hinterland of memory. They do not seek to tame silence; merely make a fragile truce with its unmappability." Arundhathi Subramaniam
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Table of Contents

Roots / 21 The Paper / 23 The Book / 25 Painting with a White Border / 29 My Mother's Wedding / 31 My Dream / 31 We / 33 My Mother's Sandook Chest / 35 To Father / 35 Voices / 37 Uncle Mohan Singh / 41 Sarod Recital / 41 Who's playing / 43 Trollope & Colls / 45 Covent Garden / 47 Who knows / 49 Wear Me / 51 "Such munificence is your touch - " / 51 "There's no forgetting - " / 53 "the hanging light - " / 55 Still Life / 57 Searching for Another World / 57 This Moment / 59 She sings / 61 This / 61 24 October 2003 / 63 Names / 65 Then / 69 The Sharon Fruit / 69 The Kite / 71 At the Riverbank / 73 Waterfall / 75 Mother Language / 77 Lasan Garlic / 79 The Peacock in Walpole Park, Ealing / 81 To Paulo the Guitarist / 83 The Song of the Bike / 85 A Hard Woman cried / 87 The Wall of Death / 89 "Far far away on a distant planet - " / 91 Pictures / 93 Amin Mughal / 93 The Fish knows Everything / 95 Mapping Memories / 97 The Journey / 97 A Weekend Journey / 99 John Berger gives a Talk at the ICA on 15.09.95 / 101 McFarland California / 103 The Tomato / 105 A Man with Ten Shadows / 105 Water flows Backwards / 107 Here & Now / 109 A Frog-like Word / 111 The Photo Booth / 111 Today's Account / 115 The Bird / 115 The Peacock / 117 Glow-worms / 119 Gunachaur / 121 The Voice / 123 Notes / 125 Biographical notes / 127

About the Author

AMARJIT CHANDAN (author) was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1946, and lives and works in London. He has published seven collections of poetry and four books of essays in Punjabi and his poems have appeared in anthologies and magazines world-wide. He has edited and translated into Punjabi about thirty anthologies of Indian and world poetry and fiction by, among others, Brecht, Neruda, Ritsos, Hikmet, Cardenal, Martin Carter and John Berger. He was one of ten British poets selected by the Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, on National Poetry Day in 2001, and he participated in the International Aldeburgh Poetry Festival the same year. He has given many readings throughout the world including at Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest and, in the USA, at the University of California Santa Barbara and Columbia University. He has received numerous literary awards for his work, including the Life-time Achievement Award by the Language Department of the Punjab Government, India in 2004; the Life-time Achievement Award by the Panjabis in Britain All-Party Parliamentary Group, London in 2006; and the Life-time Achievement Award by the Anad Foundation New Delhi in November 2009. A short poem by Amarjit Chandan in both Punjabi and English is engraved in granite by the artist Alec Peever and installed in a square in Slough High Street. STEPHEN WATTS (Editor & translator) is a poet with a number of books to his name. He was born in 1952 and lives mostly in London and the Western Isles, with close cultural roots in the Italian Alps. He has worked extensively in hospitals and in schools as a poet and recently was the first 'embedded poet' writing on issues of suicide in the Highlands and Islands. For a number of years he helped run the Multicultural Arts Consortium in London. With Ana Jelnikar he co-translated Six Slovenian Poets (Arc, 2006) and has also co-edited four anthologies of translated poetry. JULIA CASTERTON (translator) was born in Nottingham in 1952 and graduated from the University of Essex with a first-class degree in comparative literature in 1975. In the early 1980s, she joined the editorial board of the London-based journal Red Letters and from 1986 to 1996, she published poetry and reviewed for Ambit poetry magazine. As a teacher, she had a long association with London's City Lit where, beginning in the 1980s, she taught creative writing to students of varying abilities. She published two books on creative writing: Creative Writing (1986) and Writing Poems - A Practical Guide (2005) and was much in demand as a reader and workshop leader. In 2004, her first full-length collection of poems, The Doves of Finisterre, won the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection prize and in 2006, she received an Arts Council award to support the preparation of next collection of poems and, despite increasing ill-health, finished a first novel. Julia Casterton died in February 2007. JOHN WELCH (translator) was born in 1942 and lives in London. He edited Stories from South Asia, an anthology for school and college use, published by Oxford University Press in 1984. For around twenty-five years he ran the Many Press, publisher in 1993 of Amarjit Chandan's pamphlet collection Being Here. His own Collected Poems appeared from Shearsman in 2008, and a new collection, Visiting Exile, has just appeared from the same publisher.

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