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’.
Sachin C. Ketkar (b.1972) is a bilingual writer, translator, editor, blogger and researcher based in Baroda, Gujarat. His most recent book is Changlya Kavitevarchi Statutory Warning: Samkaleen Marathi Kavita, Jagatikikaran ani Bhashantar (Sept 2016) is a collection of Marathi articles on contemporary Marathi poetry, globalization and translation. His books in English include Skin, Spam and Other Fake Encounters: Selected Marathi Poems in translation, (2011), (Trans) Migrating Words: Refractions on Indian Translation Studies (2010) and A Dirge for the Dead Dog and Other Incantations (2003). His collections of Marathi poetry are Jarasandhachya Blogvarche Kahi Ansh (2010) and Bhintishivaicya Khidkitun Dokavtana, (2004). He has extensively translated present-day Marathi poetry, most of which is collected in the anthology Live Update: An Anthology of Recent Marathi Poetry, 2005 edited by him. He has translated fiction by Jorge Luis Borges, Ted Hughes and Adam Thopre into Marathi. He won 'Indian Literature Poetry Translation Prize', given by Indian Literature Journal, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi for translation of modern Gujarati poetry in 2000. Apart from rendering the fifteenth century Gujarati poet Narsinh Mehta for his doctoral research, he has also translated numerous modern Gujarati writers like Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh, Bhupen Khakkar, Jayant Khatri, Rajendra Patel, Nazir Mansuri and Mona Patrawala into English. He works as Professor in English, Faculty of Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara. Several of his publications are available at Academia.edu . His books are available at Amazon.in and Paperwall.in He blogs at: Cosmic Joke
Adrian Grima (Malta,1968) is a prizewinning author of collections of poetry and short stories in Maltese. He has read his poetry in many countries in the Mediterranean and Europe, and also in Australia, India, Nicaragua, and Bali and Makassar in Indonesia. Anthologies of his poetry in translation have appeared in Arabic, English, German, Italian and French. Adrian Grima teaches Maltese literature and representations of the Mediterranean at the University of Malta. Last-ditch Ecstasy is a translation by Albert Gatt of his most recent collection of poems in Maltese, Klin u Kaprii Ora (KKM 2015).
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.
Santosh Padmakar Pawar (b.1972) is known in Marathi literary world for primarily for winning the prestigious 'Abhidhanantar Award' for his long poem titled Bhramishthacha Jahirnama. He has won numerous awards for this collection and his other three collections poems too. Santosh Pawar's poetry is a part of the curriculum in well-known universities of Maharashtra including the Mumbai and Pune universities. He has also edited a book of poems of the late poet Arun Kale. His poems are part of many poetry anthologies including Live Update – an anthology on post-globalisation poetry in English translation published by Poetrywala in 2005. Pawar started his carrier as a sevak of a village in Ahmadnagar district but simultaneously finished his studies to become a lecturer in Marathi. Currently he is working at the prestigious Rayat Shikshan Sanstha's Annasaheb Aawate college in Manchar.
Adil Jussawalla is the author of four books of poems. The third of these, trying to Say Goodbye, won the Sahitya Akademi award (2014) for a work in English. Some of his non-fiction has appeared in Maps for a Mortal Moon (2014) and more of it, along with a selection of his poems and fiction, in I Dreamt a Horse Fell from the Sky (2015.) He also edited the anthology New Writing in India (1974). He was born in Bombay in 1940 and has lived there most of his life.