Geet Chaturvedi
(India, 1977)   
Geet Chaturvedi

Geet Chaturvedi is a critically acclaimed Hindi poet and novelist based in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He has five books to his credit, including two collections of novellas and two collections of poems, Aalaap Mein Girah (2010) and Nyoontam Main (2015). He has translated into Hindi the poems of Pablo Neruda, Federico García Lorca, Adonis, Czeslaw Milosz, Adam Zagajewski, Bei Dao, Dunya Mikhail, Iman Mersal and Eduardo Chirinos. Translated into eight languages, he was awarded the Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Award for poetry in 2007. He is currently working on his first full-length novel, Ranikhet Xpress.

Chaturvedi has been described by Hindi poet and critic Ashok Vajpeyi as “a truly avant-garde spirit in his fiction and poetry.” “He brings,” says Vajpeyi, “his vast reading, unusual for his generation, to bear effortlessly on his writing, which is innovative in language and style. He has an evolving vision, which is not bogged down by clichés or [caught in the] clutches of ideological stances.”
Shaped in his formative years by post-Emergency India and later by the paradigm shift of economic liberalization initiated in the ’90s, Chaturvedi’s poetry started out in a realist mode. His translator Anita Gopalan says he began as “a fearless realistic political poet” but soon turned to a more Meta-realist poetics, as he began to integrate Indian myth, philosophy, a political sensibility, and his wide reading of world literature into poems that grew into complex textual organisms.
Poet and critic Vishnu Khare has observed that “Geet is among the few Hindi poets who watch the lumpenisation and dehumanisation of Indian society with a keen eye.” At the same time, there is no consequent impoverishment of texture in Chaturvedi’s poetry. The conflict between the self and the other (a recurrent preoccupation in his work) is, according to his translator, “not just a philosophical but a political statement . . . And an existential, political or philosophical concern is raised in such a way that it hardly ever seems programmatic.”
Informed by his reading of world poetry, postmodern European literature and the Sanskrit-Pali traditions of Indian letters, Chaturvedi’s poetry is obviously intertextual. As Gopalan points out, he often uses Sanskrit and Persian words in a single line, and draws on Bhojpuri, Punjabi, English and Bambaiya Hindi references in a single poem.
Some of the diversity of style and preoccupation is evident in the poems in this edition. From the quiet fabulist who narrates the tale of the Seed and the Earth to the playful satirist who employs pastiche and shifting registers to ironize the Indian middle class, from the no-holds-barred political poet (“I’m not mine, but someone else’s politics/ I’m someone else’s hidden agenda”) to the passionate rasika (or connoisseur) of a Vietnamese filmaker’s oeuvre (“I am in love with you . . . / Your blindness is the colour green/ The colour of my blindness is you”) – this is clearly a complex and interesting poet at work. 

© Arundhathi Subramaniam

Selected Bibliography
Aalaap Mein Girah, Rajkamal Prakashan, New Delhi, February 2010
Nyoontam Main, Rajkamal Prakashan, New Delhi, September 2015
Savant Anti Ki Ladkiyan, Rajkamal Prakashan, New Delhi, June 2010
Pink Slip Daddy, Rajkamal Prakashan, New Delhi, June 2010
Sammukh : An interview with Geet Chaturvedi, limited edition booklet, Rajkamal Prakashan/Sabad, New Delhi, June 2010
Charlie Chaplin, A life, Samvad Prakashan, Meerut/Mumbai, 2004
Chile Ke Jungalon se, rare prose of Pablo Neruda, Samvad Prakashan, Meerut/Mumbai, 2004
Prem Ka Punerlekhan, poems of Bei Dao, trans. & introduced by Geet Chaturvedi, Rachna Samay, Bhopal, 2012
Self Portrait, Selected Poems and Prose by Adam Zagajewski, e-book, trans. & introduced by Geet Chaturvedi, Sabad, New Delhi, 2011
Selected Poems: Iman Mersal, e-book, trans. & introduced by Geet Chaturvedi, Sabad, New Delhi, 2012
“A writer of the 25th hour – A profile of Geet Chaturvedi” in the Indian Express
Critical analysis of Chaturvedi's 27-part long poem “Ubhaychar” (The Amphibian) in Galpaatal
Video of Chaturvedi reading “Kaya” (Mortal Form)
Video of Rigved Singh reading Chaturvedi's poem, Champa ke phool on the Hindi Kavita Channel.
Poetry-film by Sabad on seven of Chaturvedi's poems.


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