A sense of evening pervades Christos Koukis’ Modern Guilt, translated into English by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke and Elle Arscott. This twilight is historical, ridden by the background of the financial crisis in Greece, as much as poetic, where ‘we are rich in such a way that no bank condescends to accept us’. But like all things Greek, there is the sun, which peeks at odd places and throws light on hidden corners. In Koukis’ world, the sun glints, before setting at nine o’clock behind the Acropolis, even if ‘deep down, the light makes things difficult’.
It is in this sense that Modern Guilt holds a mirror to us, our anxieties and vanities. The earthquakes in Modern Guilt are political. History is ugly and ‘the country does not go to sleep with clear conscience’. Continuing in the tradition of the modern Greek masters, Koukis has use for antiquity, but this antiquity is not removed from history, its pain and betrayal. It provides no respite, only hard lessons. The financial earthquake of Greece is but one more link in that story.
Yet in its moments of crises, hope shines through —‘there is a feeling of life that never abandons us, an honest victory’. There is redemption in love and in the hope of love. Amidst the shadows, for Koukis it ultimately ‘doesn’t matter’, for even ‘Dresden was rebuilt and now it shines’.
Ashwani Kumar is Mumbai- based Indian English poet, writer, and professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences. His anthologies ‘My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter’ with a prolegomenon by Ashis Nandy and ‘Banaras and the Other’ have been published by Yeti Books and Poetrywala. His poems-translated in Indian languages and Hungarian, are noted for ‘lyrical celebration’ of garbled voices of memory and their subversive ‘whimsy’ quality. His ‘Banaras and the Other’, first of a trilogy on religious cities, was long listed for 1stJayadev National Poetry Award 2017. Select cantos of ‘Banaras and the Other’ were performed by Hungarian band Kalaka at the Times Lit Fest 2017 in Mumbai. He is currently working on Ayodhya, second of Banaras trilogy, his non- fiction book ‘Biharis’ (forthcoming, Aleph Books) and a special volume on Tagore titled ‘Architecture of Alphabets’/ Betűrendek architektúrája in Hungarian (forthcoming 2019). He is co-founder of Indian Novels Collective to bring classic novels of Indian Literature to English readers. He is also a visiting fellow at leading global universities and think tanks including London School of Economics, German Development Institute, Korea Development Institute, University of Sussex etc. He has also served as member of Central Employment Guarantee Council (Government of India). His major scholarly contributions include ‘Community Warriors’ (Anthem Press; London), ‘Power Shifts and Global Governance’ (Anthem Press; London), ‘Global Civil Society: Poverty and Activism’ (Sage International; London) and ‘Migration, Mobility and Citizenship’ (forthcoming, Routledge). He is recipient of Azim Premji foundation’s research grant and the Indian Council of Social Science Research has awarded him the prestigious ‘Senior Fellowship’ for a book-length study of welfare regimes in India. At leisure, he writes articles and reviews for Financial Express, the Print, Business Standard, The Hindu, Indian Express, DNA, Open Democracy, among others.
Gabor Lanczkor was born in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, in 1981. He was studying in Budapest, and spent longer periods in Rome, Ljubljana and London.
He is an award-winning author with eleven published books; novels, poetry volumes, children’s books and essays. He is the guitarist of the band Médeia Fiai, and is involved in the musical project Anarchitecture.
His selected poems in English were published under the title Sound Odyssey in 2016 (Poetrywala, Mumbai).
He is living is a tiny Hungarian village with his wife and two daughters.
Arjun Rajendran's first collection, Snake Wine, was published by Les Editions du Zaporogue in 2014. His poems have appeared in publications including Berfrois, The Missing Slate, Caesura, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Star*Line, Strange Horizons, Mithila Review, VAYAVYA and others. He has also been published in Eclectica?s Best of Poetry Anthology (2016), celebrating the best poems published by Eclectica Magazine in 20 years, and the 40 Under 40 anthology published by Paperwall (2016). Rajendran was the editor of The Four Quarters Magazine until 2014.
Indran Amirthanayagam writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. He has published thirteen poetry collections thus far, including The Elephants of Reckoning (Hanging Loose Press,NY,1993) which won the 1994 Paterson Prize in the United States, Uncivil war (Tsar/now Mawenzi House, Toronto,2013) and The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems (Hanging Loose Press,NY,2008). His latest books are IL n’est de solitude quel’ile lointaine (Les Editions, Haiti,2017), Pwezi a Kat Men, written with Alex Laguerre (Delince Editions, Miami,2017), and Ventana Azul (El Tapiz del Unicornio, Mexico City,2016). Two new manuscripts, Paolo 9, a suite of poems about the case of Paolo Guerrero and the World Cup and En busca de posada are forthcoming in 2019.
K. Satchidanandan, perhaps the most widely translated of contemporary Indian poets, has 23 collections of his poetry in 19 languages including English, Irish, Arabic, Chinese, French, German and Italian besides all-important Indian languages. His collected poems in three volumes – about 1400 pages- came out in 2006 and his collected translations from world poetry were published in four volumes – about 1700 pages- in 2012-14. His books of English translations, While I Write: New and Selected Poems (Harper-Collins India) came out in 2011 and Misplaced Objects and Other Poems (Sahitya Akademi, Delhi) in 2014. His New and Selected Poems in English translation, a large volume of about 600 pages, The Missing Rib, is due to appear very soon from Poetrywala, Bombay. Satchidanandan was a Professor of English in Kerala and later moved to Delhi to edit Indian Literature , the organ of the Sahitya Akademi ( The National Academy of Literature in India) and served as its Chief Executive for a decade. Later he was a Language Policy Adviser to the Govt of India, the Director and Professor of Translation Studies at the Indira Gandhi National Open University and the editor of the SAARC journal Beyond Borders and of the South Asian Library of Literature, a book series. All through he has also been a cultural activist working for peace, environment and human and minority rights. His poetry stands against all forms of violence. Satchidanandan writes poetry in Malayalam, and prose in Malayalam and English and has more than 20 collections of poetry besides several books of travel, plays and criticism and translations of poetry from around the world and five books originally written in English on Indian literature. This is besides the 20 -odd books in three languages that he has edited. He has represented India in several Literary Festivals and Book Fairs across the world including those in Delhi, Jaipur, Bombay, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Lahore, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai, Damascus, Berlin, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Wales, New York, Washington, Hay, Paris, Frankfurt, Bonn, Leipzig, Beijing, Shanghai, Rotterdam, Medellin, Havana, Lima, Sarajevo, Vilenica, Madrid, Soria, Segovia, Avila and Moscow. Satchidanandan is a Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi and has won 32 literary awards and Fellowships including Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award five times, (for poetry, drama, travelogue, translation, criticism), Gangadhar Meher National Award (Orissa) , Kusumagraj National Award ( Maharashtra), NTR National Award ( Andhra Pradesh), Kuvempu National Award ( Karnataka), Kamala Surayya Award ( Dubai),Oman Cultural Centre Award ( Muscat),Kala Award for Total Literary Contribution ( London), K. K. Birla Fellowship for Comparative Literature, Sreekant Verma Fellowship for Translation and the Senior Fellowship from the Govt of India besides Knighthood of the Order of Merit from the Government of Italy and India-Poland Friendship Medal from the Government of Poland. He was on the Ladbroke list of Nobel probables in 2011. A film on him, SummerRain was released in 2007.At present he is a National Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, India.