chaturangik/SQUARES - A chess book of collaborative poetry

CinnamonTeal Press has recently published a square-shaped thin book of bilingual collaborative poetry, where each page of the book is designed like a chessboard. Two stubs of bilingual text (English and Bangla) are placed in or over certain squares following an undercover stratagem.

chaurtangik/SQUARES is a book length collaborative poem by Pat Clifford and Aryanil Mukherjee. The book is inspired by Satyajit Ray's seminal film Shatranj Ki Khiladi (The Chess Players). The work deals with the mechanics of chess and politics in both a thematic and formal way. At times the language is opaque and confrontational. In other places there is a resigned melancholy.

Often what started as longer poems were chopped or condensed. In the end, each installment was placed into the boxes of a chess grid. The poem's use of languages is more complex than it would appear. Translation was part of the collaborative process itself, not something done after the fact. In a typical section, Clifford would start out writing in English to which Mukherjee would respond in Bengali, who would then translate Clifford's English lines into Bengali and his own Bengali into English. Critical focus would be placed immediately on the modifications and then prompt the next section. In the end, a linguistically reflected text was produced— a poem that can be read in multiple ways.

Pat Clifford and Aryanil Mukherjee
A bilingual booklength collaborative poem
Illustration by Mithu Sen
Published by Cinnamon Teal
45p/Paperback/6.25" x 6.25"
ISBN - 978-81-907296-6-6
Distributed by Kaurab
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