Leeladhar Jagoori Now Reaches Out to ‘World’s Readers.

Govind Prasad Bahuguna

The World Poetry is a non-profit publisher of poetry in translation, founded in 2017 based in New York City. They publish books from a broad range of languages.

They have recently brought out an English version of an eminent Hindi poet Leeladhar Jagood’s collection of poems titled as “What of the Earth Was Saved” translated by an avid lover of Indian poetry- Matt Reeck who is a Guggenheim fellow in Translation (Daniel Guggenheim was an industrialist and philanthropist.) Having completed his PhD in the Comparative Literature Department at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) M. Matt Reeck is currently an Adjutant Professor of French and Francophone Studies at St John University.He has won a fellowship from the Fulbright Foundation,the American institute of Indian studies.

This collection was originally published under its original title बची हुई पृथ्वी by राजकमल प्रकाशन नई दिल्ली in 1977.

People may have their different opinions about the art of translation but I liked this comment of the famous German novelist and poet and Nobel LaureateGünter Grass, who said that translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.

In this perspective Reecks rendering stands perfectly well.
There is always a new flavour and colour of a poem when it is transformed into translation in a foreign language . In every language you find a new sound and music of words and the ethos contained in it which may not be exactly represented in a translation yet the art of translation should not be overlooked and underrated.

Let me share a few lines of the poem I loved to read which has been beautifully rendered from the original text of the following poems –
*”Important” People*
“What do so-called important people do at night ?
Important people don’t cover themselves at night like prisoners do
for them night is a camouflage for the sins of the day they worship the night
because it doesn’t come and go on their command.—-“

*My Mothers Face*
At quarter till one in the morning
there is no way to tell what season it is
The season has been stolen by the talons of the night .
rapping on doors and windows the cold enters my lungs
asking humbly for a place to stay
it nakes me shiver from head to toe.
It lays siege to my bodys every pore telling me how one age passes and
how a person will change over time
Millions of stars lie scattered beyond my grasp in the night’s womb.
The wandering cold raps against my lungs doors
can I remember my mom dead years ago from smallpox…”

This poem was written by Jagoori on the death of his mother remembering her visage in cold night lying dead…This best ode he has written as yet.

I congratulate M. Matt Reeck for his work in faithfully rendering the poems. (GBP)

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