Author: Debashis Chanda
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Published: June 2008
Product ID: 8579
Supplier: Pathak Shamabesh
Almost fifty years ago, one of our major poets, Buddhadev Bose put together an anthology of modern Bengali poetry in which he included, to the surprise of many, an extract from Abanindranath Tagore’s writings. Abanindranath was eminent enough as an artist and as a pioneer in art movement. As a writer also, he was well-known for his distinctive prose-style. But none had expected to see his poem included in an anthology, as impeccably compiled as this one.
Of course, Bose had drawn the extract from a prose-piece of Abanindranath. By rearranging the prose extract in short and long lines-familiar in poetry-he sought to demonstrate that Abanindranath’s prose at times was hardly different from poetry. Perhaps a word or two here and there needed pruning, as Buddhadev did in the extract selected by him. But it often happens that even without such editorial intervention we sometimes exclaim: ‘why it is just like poetry!’ when we come across a certain utterance or situation or experience. Stephen Spender, for one, believed that there are in Delacroix’s Journal many passages, the quality of which ‘makes writers envious’. He then quoted a passage and remarked: ‘the last line seems pure poetry’.
Now what happens when Buddhadev tastes pure poetry in Abanindranath’s prose or Spender in Delacroix’s? Why do such prose-pieces seem poetry to them? Not that such questions admit of easy answers. Perhaps some other is at work, apart from the vibes resulting from the coalescences of the right words or a picture similarly forming itself in the reader’s mind. Perhaps our inner being momentarily becomes active touched by this sense, perhaps one gets a suggestion, a hint of more