Andal

PRIYA SARUKKAI CHABRIA’S books include speculative fiction, cross-genre non-fiction, a novel and two poetry collections. Awarded a fellowship for her Outstanding Contribution to Literature by the Indian Government, her work is translated into six languages. She has experimented with the ancient Rasa theory of aesthetics, learnt Pali to read the JatakaTales, co-founded the silent film society Friends of the Archive, collaborated with filmmakers, dancers and artists and curated two seminars for the Indian Academy of Literature. Her work can be found in anthologies and journals including Adelphiana, Asymptote, Breaking the Bow, Caravan, IndianQuarterly.The Literary Review (USA), The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry, Southerly, South Asian Review, PEN International, Post Road, The British Journal of Literary Translation, Pratilipi, Language for a New Century, Another English: Anglophone Poems from Around the World, South Asian Review, Writing Love: An Anthology of Indian English Poetry.

Ravi SHANKAR, an award-winning poet, author, translator, and founding editor of Drunken Boat(www.drunkenboat.com), has appeared at many venues, Including. The New York Time,The Parts Review, NPR, the BBC, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Hismany books IncludeW.W. Norton’s Language for a New Century. What Else Could it Be, Instrumentality and the National PoetryPrize winner Deepening Groove, called the work of “one of America’s finest younger poets”. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, he has taught, held fellowships and performed his work around the world.

Jacket designed by Sunandini Banerjee, Seagull Books, using a reverse acrylic by K. G. Subramanyan. Image courtesy The Seagull Foundation for the Arts, Calcutta.

A powerful expression of female sexuality in the Indian spiritual tradition, in a breathtaking new translation.

…a translation maven’s dream.’
John Stratton Hawley, Columbia University

‘This book is a gatewayto a literature that dwarfs. Western bookshelves,an erotic metaphysics aPsychology of the absolute. To open these pages is to enter “the holy city of Arankaram”, “Dvarka”, “that kingdom of interconnecting lights”, the human mind refusing any limit. PriyaSarukkaiChabria and Ravi Shankar, remarkable poets in their own right, have taken us on a fascinating journey.’
Dennis Nurkse, poet

‘We emerge bloodied and honeyed by Andal’s surrender to her Lord. PriyaSarukkaiChabria and Ravi Shankar, highly accomplished poets, rise to meet Andal with grace and fire, and transport her words, her worlds, to us, unafraid of its immeasurable depths. Theirs is as much a feat of courage and love as of craft and ingenuity.’
Karthika Nair, poet

‘PriyaSarukkaiChabria and Ravi Shankar offer us a haunting chamber of echoes, and a figure that segues between mystic and metaphor, woman and deity. The result is verse that swirls between sensuality and sacred delirium – and a profusion of Andals, edgy, erotic and darkly ecstatic.’
ArundhatiSubramaniam, poet

Ninth-century Tamil poet and founding saint Andal is believed to have been found as a baby beneath a holy basil plant in the temple garden of Srivilliputhur.As a young woman she fell deeply in love with Lord Vishnu, composing fervent poems and songs in his honour and, according to custom, eventually marrying the god himself.The Autobiography of a Goddess comprises Andal’s entire corpus, composed before her marriage to Vishnu, and cements her status as the South Indian corollary of Mirabai, the saint and devotee of Sri Krishna.The collection includes Tiruppavai, a song still popular in congregational worship, thirty pasuram (stanzas) sung before Lord Vishnu, and the less- translated, rapturously erotic NacchiyarTirumoli.

PriyaSarrukaiChabria and Ravi Shankar employ a radical method in this translation, breathing new life into this rich classical and spiritual verse by rendering Andal in a contemporary poetic idiom in English. Many of Andal’s pieces are translated collaboratively; others individually and separately. The two approaches are brought together, presenting a richly layered reading of these much-loved classic Tamil poems and songs.

Reviews-

Review by TM Krishna (Carnatic musician and winner of the 2016 Ramon Magsaysay award) in The Indian Express.
http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/books/andal-the-autobiography-of-a-goddess-book-review-3071326/

Interview in The Hindu
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/entertainment/in-sacred-rapture/article8201265.ece

Excerpt in Scroll.in.
http://scroll.in/article/803142/why-a-single-poem-by-andal-needs-four-different-translations

Review by Arshia Sattar in Open Magazine
http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/books/love-and-language#all

Review by Sumana Roy in Scroll.in
http://scroll.in/article/804628/poetry-that-reminds-us-of-the-all-too-human-and-animal-needs-of-our-gods

Preface to book by Mani Rao
https://www.academia.edu/21952695/Preface_to_new_book_translation_of_Andal




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