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A Book to Remember Tagore, One Poem at a Time

Tagore’s previously unpublished poems to see light of day.

Updated
Lifestyle
2 min read
A Book to Remember Tagore, One Poem at a Time
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(This story was originally published on 2 May 2016 and is being republished from The Quint’s archives to mark Rabindranath Tagore’s birth anniversary.)

Roli Books published an anthology of Rabindranath Tagore’s previously unpublished poems in June 2016. These short poems remain undated but were possibly written in response to specific public demands and not so much out of the poet’s urge to express himself.

The book called Knockings at my Heart has around 81 such autograph-poems.

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Compiled and edited by curator and poet Nilanjan Banerjee, the poems were lying in the archives of Rabindra Bhavan in Tagore’s abode at Santiniketan, either in the poet’s own handwriting or in typed scripts or printed forms.

These are very short poems or couplets. He was influenced by the precision, depth, power and intensity of Japanese haiku style of poetry.
Nilanjan Banerjee

Tagore went on to perfect the art, evident in the painstaking modification of many of these poems years after they had been written. The poems are on a variety of themes–friendship, unity and togetherness, God and eternity.

They were written as and when whatever thoughts came to his mind on variety of subjects.
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Tagore became an international figure after he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 for his book of poems ‘Gitanjali.’

During the lifetime of the poet, three books of his short poems were published - Stray Birds (1916), Lekhan (1926) and Fireflies (1928).

Tagore’s writings in English were largely composed during his foreign travels or while corresponding with friends around the world. Very few of his poems were written originally in English like the well-known The Child in 1931, which he translated into Bengali as Shishu Tirtha.

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