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This Number Does Not Exist

By: Mangalesh Dabral

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Bilingual Edition | First US Publication of Mangalesh Dabral

An attentive critique on contemporary reality—modernity, capitalism, industrialization—this first US publication of Mangalesh Dabral, presented in bilingual English and Hindi, speaks for the dislocated, disillusioned people of our time. Juxtaposing the rugged Himalayan backdrop of Dabral’s youth with his later migration in search of earning a livelihood, this collection explores the tense relationship between country and city. Speaking in the language of deep irony, these compassionate poems also depict the reality of diaspora among ordinary people and the middle class, underlining the big disillusionments of post-Independence India.


"One should use silence in order to tell about the aesthetics of absence in the poems of Mangalesh Dabral. His is a poetry of displacements inside of personal cities and abandoned oblivions; the duality of the world contained in each open door settles in his eye, as when someone goes away leaving both flowers and beggars behind. The translator of Herbert, Ritsos, and Neruda—Mangalesh Dabral—writes in Hindi and speaks about home, yet brings the dust of the world in among his lines."

—Nikola Madzirov, author of Remnants of Another Age

"In many of [Mangalesh Dabral’s] poems you can still feel the fresh Himalayan breeze and see the observing consciousness of the boy who has come from the village to the big city. Although now a praised and acknowledged poet, Mangalesh’s tone is still unassuming. Although critical as well: Is the world good enough for our children? Is human contact becoming reduced to impersonal communications via cell phones? Mangalesh’s poems are like fingertips that feel out the world and translate what they come across."

—Annette Van Der Hoek, Poetry International Foundation

© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2016