Bengali modernism, one amongst many reverberating, echoing modernisms in far-flung parts of the globe, walks the tightrope between love and lanquage as precariously as desire itself. Modernist poetry has always wrestled with the impossibility of articulation and the limits of language; Bengali modernist poetry - speaking in vastly varied voices- continually pushes itself to transform desire into poetry, rather than to express desire in poetry. In this paper, I will explore some poems from modernist poets in Bengali to explore a poetics that turns the poem into desire itself. I intend to look at articulations of the poets on love and longing as well as the poems themselves, to close-read embedded minor' signals that throw up local habitations and names for the praxis of this poetry of desire. If the poem embodies desire, what images return, in imperfect shapes and sounds? What images fail, and wither? What images attain perfection - togetherness, as in the pages of the book where the poem appears - metamorphosing absence into the material presence of the poem. its signs and symbols, and its ink, now dry?
Brinda Bose is a Professor working at the Centre for English Studies and the School of Language Literature and Culture Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India