Sunday, May 24, 2009

Selected Poems by Rabindranath Tagore, reviewed by Arun Kumar

"Selected Poems", by Rabindranath Tagore, translated by William Radice, is an excellent and powerful translation as well as a representative selection of the Tagore's poems. Tagore has carved a place for him in the World Literature. He is one of the greatest poets of India and a leading Indian literary figure of the world literature.

It is really exciting for an Indian reader to see Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore in translation and that also by an European scholar and doing proper justice to him in his translations.

An excellent example worth emulating for any translator of world literature - worth a salt . He has conveyed both the feelings of Tagore as well as his literary craftsmanship to his readers even in translations. The title is published by International publisher - Penguin India, under its classics initiative.

The erudite translator has exemplified that one who knows his subject and his works well could convey the feelings and literary craftsmanship to the readers in translation. The book deserve to recommended for anyone who has a musical ear and a real love and appreciation for poetry.

As one knows that the poems of Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore are most delicate in Indian as well as world literature. His literature convey passionate human yearning.

His subjects deals with the interplay between the God and mortals, a changing universe in tune with unchanging harmony. Poems titled "Earth" and " In the Eyes of a Peacock" depict picture of natural processes untouched by human concerns. In his poem "Recovery — 14," the poet discusses his place in this world. Likewise the poems "New Rain" and "Grandfather's Holiday" convey the poet's amusement to the creation of nature.

William Radice explains that Unending Love ‘is a lyric poem which it takes us into the world of Tagore’s songs.

" In life after life, in age after age forever.
Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain, Its ancient tale of being apart or together, As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge Clad in the light of a pole-star peiercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever."

Translating the poem "Unending Love" the translator has done a wonderful job treating Bengali culture and its folklore in his translation. Amazing translation of the words and phrases used in bengali society and that also by an European scholar amuse the readers.

Detailed 16-page glossary given at the end of the book accompanied with the notes, listing Bengali/Indian words used in the poems i.e proper names of mythological characters, places, plants, mountains and rivers, palaces so on and so forth makes it intelligible even to those readers who are either not Indian and also to those Indians who know little about the Bengali society. It makes it a great translation.

Worth Reading. Recommended for Connosieur of Poetry.


  1. Can the review be published in my blog or other websites after it has been published in yours?

  2. Hi Sourav-you're more than welcome to publish the review on your blog and anywhere else online, we hope you enjoyed the book!

    Remember to email your review to so we can post it on this blog.