About the Book
It’s in Delhi, dystopian as ever, that Sujatha Mathai continues to live and write today, and I fear her words—“I cannot save my city / Against the degradation of dust”—will echo long into the future, acquiring new meanings. And yet I’m so happy to read a new book of hers, to see that she’s still writing her poems sharp and clear as glass, full of sympathy for the world and those who suffer. It makes me feel that literature survives and helps us survive, that it carries more continuity than we think.
— Vivek Narayanan
Assistant Professor, Department of English, George Mason University
About the Book
“Wings sense what they must”. And poets too. In her third poetry collection, Anindita Sengupta receives and transmits the hues of a planet mad with want, fear, breakdown. At the heart of a maelstrom of (in)humanity and conflagration, dispossession and disease, her poems bite and rage and mourn. From forage fish to polar bears, she is enmeshed and implicated. With her, we sense the natural world’s mysteries as apprehensible, but “not teachable”. In these poems, breath is the seam that will rip and tear; pain the only climate we can count on. As we embrace deception and vulnerability, we coil in and out of the quieter spaces we contain and are contained by. Hers is our hunger to understand, even hope, so that we might begin again to believe in “small miracles”, to persist, like the algae, “in a world without light.”
– Sampurna Chattarji
Anindita Sengupta asks: “How to speak of violence without /repeating it. What language? What tone? What / memory?” Throughout this coruscating collection, her fluid and inventive poiesis attempts to answer these questions, weaving contingent and deeply human meanings out of personal and collective trauma. Only the Forest Knows is a profoundly accomplished, intelligent work. Sengupta creates an urgent, sensual language that speaks out of the raw contradictions and anguish of the present. This is a poetry tempered by fire, loss and sorrow that
yet, as Rilke said, “nevertheless still praises”: a hard-won beauty that is its own hope.