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’.
Mustansir Dalvi was born in Bombay. He teaches architecture in Mumbai. His poems are included in the anthologies: These My Words: The Penguin Book of Indian Poetry (Eunice de Souza and Melanie Silgardo, editors); Mind Mutations (Sirrus Poe, editor); The Bigbridge Online Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry (Menka Shivdasani, editor); The Dance of the Peacock: An Anthology of English Poetry from India (Vivekanand Jha, editor); To Catch a Poem: An Anthology of Poetry for Young People (Jane Bhandari and Anju Makhija, editors); and The Enchanting Verses Literary Review (online, Abhay K, editor). Mustansir Dalvi?s 2012 English translation of Muhammad Iqbal's influential Shikwa and Jawaab-e-Shikwa from the Urdu as Taking Issue and Allah's Answer (Penguin Classics) has been described as 'insolent and heretical' and makes Iqbal's verse accessible to the modern reader. This book was awarded Runner Up for Best Translation at the Muse India National Literary Award in 2012. His translations of the Sufi mystic poet Rahim are published in the anthology Eating God: a Book of Bhakti Poetry (Arundhati Subramanium, editor). His most recent book is struggles with imagined gods – selected translations of the poems of Hemant Divate from the Marathi, published by Poetrywala in 2014. Brouhahas of Cocks is his first book of poems in English published by Poetrywala in 2013. Mustansir Dalvi's poems have been translated into French, Croatian and Marathi.
Eunice de Souza (1940) is the author of several books of poems. Her groundbreaking debut Fix was published in 1979 followed by Women in Dutch Painting (1988), Ways of Belonging (1990), A Necklace of Skulls (2009). Her poems are spare, unsettling, ironic, lyrical, referencing a landscape striated with relationships to city, lovers, pets and poetry itself. If Fix established her as a poet with an original and remarkable voice, learn from the Almond Leaf settles that reputation with a volume of poems more distilled, extracted, potent and ultimately utterly wise. Over the last forty years Eunice de Souza has distinguished herself as an inspirational teacher, influencing generations of undergraduates at St Xavier's College, Mumbai; as a scholar of illuminating research into poetry written in English in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and poetry written by women; as an anthologist of several important collections of poetry the latest These My Words: The Penguin Book of Indian Poetry (2012) with Melanie Silgardo. She has also written two works of fiction Dangerlok (2001) and Dev and Simran (2003) as well as several books for children. She lives in Mumbai.
Mahendra Bhavre 1961 is a poet, critic and the Head of the Marathi Department-at the SD College, Palghar. His collection of poems, Chintakranta Mulukhache Rudan, 2000, won the Saratchandra Muktibodh Kavya Puraskar, and Vikhe-Patil Sahitya Puraskar in 2000. He has many books of criticism including Dalit Kavitetil Nave Prawah by Shabdalay Prakashan, 2001. His poetry collection Mahasatteche Peedadaan was published by Abhidhanantar in 2005
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.
Anindita Sengupta is the author of City of Water (Sahitya Akademi, 2010), which won the Muse India Young Writer award (2012). She has also been a recipient of the Charles Wallace Writers Fellowship (2011), and the Toto Award for Creative Writing (2008). Her work has appeared in journals such as One, Ouroboros Review, Mascara Literary Review, Eclectica, Nth Position, Pix Quarterly and Asian Cha and in several anthologies including The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry (Harper Collins, 2012), and The Yellow Nib Modern English Poetry by Indians (Queen's University Belfast, 2012). She has read at national and international poetry festivals. She has been a screenwriter, journalist and communications strategist and is currently working on her third book.