A Report of the Live Discussion on Barin Ghosal

Runa Bandyopadhyay
Articles & Essays
A Report of the Live Discussion on Barin Ghosal

Barin Ghosal was the introducer of the new literary theory – Expansive Consciousness in the world of Bengali poetry in early 90’s, and with this theory he started a genre of Bengali poetry, named as New Poetry. He was an adventurist in poesphere, broke all barriers with his fuzzy water logic in search of new means of expression, shattering established cultural norms of conventional poetic world of Bengal. Barin once said:

“I am not a guru to talk about any direction or the final one. No one can say about the finality. In this age of uncertainty, all those thoughts are good and effective that cleanses indeterminacy, helps to deconstruct. My job is to think and to inspire others to think, and to question. When the questions appear in front of us, the solution could be found with our own thoughts. No thoughts are required to go along the conventional trends. The person who doesn’t think, he can never be able to write the New Poetry. The middle-class mentality, the branded sage or wise – always wants to go along the conventional ways, remains aversive to change. They don’t know the law of diminishing effect. In every era it is required to take turn in poetics to go beyond the known to look for the new poetry. I always like to discuss the necessity of this thinking and of various ways of this ‘new’. “

And to pursue the Barin’s way, Ongshumali Webzine organized a wonderful discussion session on Barin Ghosal in 21st June, 2020 on Facebook, directed by Swapan Roy, 5 poets were participated in the discussion — Umapada Kar​, Kaushik Chakraborty, Joyshila Guhabagchi , অতনু বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় and Indranil Ghosh . This was a live event on Facebook, conducted by Zobaen Sondhi , Editor-in-Chief of Ongshumali webzine.

The following points came out from their wonderful readings and discussions on Barin’s work:

Philosophy of New Poetry

New Poetry is not just a poetics, but a new philosophy of life; in Barin’s word “Kabita-Japon” — living in the poetry, with the poetry, through the poetry.

Expansive Consciousness

The great literary theory of Barin Ghosal tells about a process to negate the existing to move towards infinite possibilities. If one becomes alert enough of one’s own existence in a known and given surrounding, then there will be the possibility of the best suitable model which opens up a new trail in an unknown terrain. Expansive Consciousness is a centrifugal journey in poetics aversive to centripetal surrealism. Here thought begins from the centre of the matter, subject and concept of the event to move centrifugally to expand radially outward, an enlightened journey with out-stepping into darkness.

Going beyond the Limit

The philosophy of New Poetry is to go beyond the limit to touch the perfection as the Jonathan Livingstone Seagull (a story by Richard Bach) : “You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles per hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.”

Open-ended Poetry

New Poetry tells about open-ended poetry to disagree with preconceived beginning, middle and end to reject the closure…. multidiensional & multivectorial.

Difficult Poem

There is always a complain of difficulty in understanding of Barin’s poem. Yes, it is difficult in the sense that Barin’s poem resists easy absorption, passive consumption of poem without engaging with the poem. Poetry is not to be understood; rather it’s to be sounded in the reader’s mind. The poet writes the poetry with the abstract imagination by using emotive language implanted with fuzzy-logic. The reader creates another abstraction of the poem through his own imaginary experiences. When there is a frequency matching between the poet and the reader through the poem’s-script (kabita-lipi in Barin’s word), constructed by words, the reader gets his own poem. This is poetry.

Boundary of Emotion

New Poetry rejects poems laden with emotion. But the fact is emotion is at the root of poetry, if you are not emotional you can’t write poetry. Then what is there in this ‘rejection’? There is a boundary of emotion — please come my dear emotion up to the door of my senses, so that all the external beauties of reality can entangle with my neuronal net to give an impression of their weep and smile, pleasure and pain. But be careful! Just stop there. If you leave emotion even an inch of place in poetry, it will sit on the head of your words to destroy the expressional ability of words in poetry.

Play-room for Young Poets

Through his long innovative, aversive journey in poetry, Barin became the most favorite poet both in India and Bangladesh. What was the reason? Barin was probably the only Bengali poet who used to write a sincere letter or e-mail to the poet or editor who ever handed over his book or magazine of New Poetry to him. He was an intimate friend of all young poets. If any poet writes a new poem (other poem), no matter how young the poet is or how much familiar to him, Barin would definitely knock his door and say, I have come to see you … how are you … how are your friends … is the sunlight reach to your writing desk?

Lot of thanks to all the poets, participated in the event, and the organizer.

Runa Bandyopadhyay, a bilingual poet, essayist, translator and critiqueer in the New Poetry world of Bengal, India, a scientist by profession, but fully addicted to innovative experimental literature. As a critiqueer she invented a new genre in 'recurring poetry' and...

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