Gagan Gill was born in 1959 in Delhi. She had an extremely successful career as a journalist but chose to sacrifice the journalist for the poet in her in order to secure the 'long periods of silence in her everyday life' which she considered necessary to remain 'truly connected to words'.
Gagan has published four collections of poetry and one volume of prose: her first collection Ek din lautegi larki (One day the girl will return) focuses on the gamut of female experience (but also includes epigrams and verses about political events); the poems of Andhere me Buddha (Buddhas in the dark) are variations on the theme of sorrow in human existence; her third volume Yah akanksha samay nahin (Inopportune desire) is dedicated to the enigma of desire; the songs of her fourth collection Thapak thapak dil thapak thapak rely on sound and images rather than narratives to crystallize suffering as the one constant in the impermanence of human existence. Those who are familiar with Buddhism will see the reflections of the Buddha's four noble truths in much of Gagan's writing.
One can write a lengthy list of Gagan's achievements: the languages into which her books have been translated the prestigious literary prizes she has been awarded but I won't bore you with that. It's not Gagan's fame which has attracted me to her poetry but the intensity the poignancy of her verses. She writes about pain without any sentimentality or gushiness. Her poems are understated deceptively simple occasionally prosaic full of repetitions and yet extremely carefully crafted. She combines stark images with rare expressiveness: expressiveness composed of silences gaps absences disruptions of pulsional pressure which goes beyond language.
Poems we've translated
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