Particles, Jottings, Sparks: The Complete Brief Poems

Witty, lucid and profound, Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘brief poems’ have not enjoyed the prominence they deserve. Originally published in the three separate volumes Particles (1899), Jottings (1927) and Sparks (posthumous, 1945), they are, however, central to his poetry and personality, and span his entire career. Whether in miniature fables, epigrams, ironic quatrains, or fleeting verses jotted down during his travels, the voice of the great Bengali poet is always spontaneous, friendly and accessible in these poems, and will win him new admirers.Translations can usually only select from Tagore’s vast oeuvre. But in the case of the brief poems it is possible to translate virtually his entire output in the genre, and this is what William Radice, the leading English-language translator of Tagore and himself a poet, here does for the first time. His versions splendidly rise to the challenge of Tagore’s infinite variety of mood and form. There is a full introduction, and the book concludes with some prose writings relating to poetry and the writing of the brief poems, also translated into English for the first time.

Out of print

‘I have found the same simple delight and wonder in these ‘brief’ poems as in Gitanjali or in Tagore’s dramatic masterpiece The Post Office, also translated by William Radice.’ – Kathleen Raine, Temenos Academy Review

‘People who do not know Bengali have much to thank William Radice for.’ – Khushwant Singh, The Telegraph, Calcutta

‘This collection of the Brief Poems of Tagore offers an accessible introduction to the Bengali writer’s work. Concise, aphoristic and profound, Particles, Jottings, Sparks is enriched by William Radice’s insightful approach … intricate and refreshing.’ – David Moses, Edinburgh Review

‘Many of these poems are wholesome light verse, but they display a playfulness and spontaneity that is like a breath of fresh air.’ – Debjanee Chatterjee, Wasafiri