Debasish Lahiri is an Assistant Professor in English literature at Lal Baba College, under the University of Calcutta. His writings on Postcolonial theory, Indian, American, African & Australian Poetry, and European Modernism have been published in international journals and anthologies of criticism.
He has delivered Keynote & Plenary Talks on Poetry at leading Universities in India. Abroad, he has been invited to speak at Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Paris Nanterre, University of Grenoble Alpes and University of Paris 13 among others.
He has one collection of essays Chiaroscuro Curfew: Essays in the Lives of Art (2020); two co-edited books, Literary Transactions in a Globalized Context (2010), and 21st Century Perspectives on Indian Writing in English: A Time to Turn (2023, forthcoming); one co-authored book, Tragic Survivals: From the Hellenic to the Postmodern (2017) to his credit.
Lahiri is an internationally acclaimed poet. His poems have been widely published in journals like The Journal of the Poetry Society of India, Muse-India, Indian Literature, Inkapture, The Poetry Salzburg Review, Mediterranean Poetry, Weber: The Contemporary West, Six Seasons Review, Byword, The Punch Magazine and The French Literary Review among others; in French translation in Siècle 21, Europe, Recours au Poème & La Traductière; in Italian in NUOVI ARGOMENTI and in Portuguese in NERVO: Colectivo de Poesia.
His six books of poetry are: First Will & Testament (Writers Workshop, 2012), No Waiting like Departure (Authors Press, 2016) which was shortlisted as one of the five best collections of that year by Scroll & India Today, Tinder Tender: Poems of Love & Loitering (Authors Press, 2018), Poppies in the Post & Other Poems (Authors Press, 2020), Paysages sans Verbes (Edítions Apic, 2021) and Tether that Light (Red River, 2022).
Legion of Lost Letters, a collection of narrative poems on common lives in Roman Britain is due to be published in 2023 from Black Spring Press, UK.
Lahiri is currently on the editorial board of Gitanjali & Beyond (Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies). He is a reviewer and regular contributor to the ‘Life & Letters’ column of The Statesman newspaper. Lahiri’s essay on the pandemic in Kolkata appeared in the L’Obs magazine on 27th July 2021.
Lahiri is the recipient of the Prix-du Merite, Naji Naaman Literary Prize 2019. He is an honorary member of Maison Naaman pour la Culture.
There is an Autumn in my mind
The Spring in my eyes,
As it is wont to:
A lasting image of being
As the very last.
I have a summer gait.
These are long days
And I pace them slowly.
I inhabit the constant
And wait out the end.
I am content to dwell at ease
In all change and loss;
In what I am changed into,
In what I lose of myself
In this regret there is no kindred spirit,
As I climb the ladder of light,
Only onto other unlit ladders.
I came out one day in a garden,
Digging up orchids,
That I would soon uncover
Or something dead
Around the roots
And leave them behind.
Another time I surfaced between the fringes of a cloud,
Savouring the moon’s stories
Of sleepless birds among falling leaves
That stir up the wind.
Sounds of laughter in several tongues
And distance dwarfs me
In returning echoes.
I find myself
In a restaurant’s warm penumbra
Sun-drying my hair
Before paintings of Santorini.
And I ask the old owner,
White-bearded like a marble Poseidon,
Of the sea at dawn
In the blink of his eyes only,
“Are you Maeonidas*?”
Paris, Latin Quarter.
* Maeonidas was another name of Homer.
(From Poppies in the Post & Other Poems, 2020)
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Poetry in this post: © Debasish Lahiri
Published with the permission of Debasish Lahiri