On World Book Day, HarperCollins announced the publication of a unique collection of contemporary poetry, selected and translated by Gulzar. The collection will be out in July 2020.
Speaking about the new collection, Gulzar said in a statement, “A Poem a Day began as a thought – why not have a poem to read for every day of the year, selected from the wonderful Indian poetry that has been written since 1947? I started with some of my favourite poets, but almost before I knew it, we had poetry by 279 different poets writing in as many as 35 languages. I firmly believe that poetry doesn’t know any borders, so, along with poets from Gujarat, Punjab, Kerala, Goa, Odisha, I included poets writing in Tamil in Sri Lanka, in Bangla in Bangladesh and in Urdu and Punjabi in Pakistan. The poems appear in English translation, which is a language that, thanks to our history, a majority of Indians are familiar with. But I wished to make the poems my own, and to write them again in my own way in a language and idiom that is truly our own; therefore I transcreated the poems (except the ones that were originally written in Hindi or Urdu) in Hindustani, the language in which I write. This was a massive project but a very rewarding one too.”
“The poetry of India can be truly known only if one takes into account the poetry of all its languages. A Poem a Day is my tribute to the many languages of India that happen to be local yet form a part of our national identity,” the poet-lyricist said. “It is also a personal selection of the Indian poetry that contributed to my journey of becoming a poet, and the poetry that I have found the most memorable. I feel we need poetry and the power of words more than ever in the difficult times we are going through; I hope that A Poem a Day will be a companion many of you will want to have by your side as we walk into the future.”