Bhatt, Sujata 1956-
BHATT, Sujata 1956-
PERSONAL: Born May 6, 1956, in Ahmedabad, India; married Michael Augustin, 1988; children: one daughter. Education: Goucher College, B.A., 1980; University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, M.F.A., 1986.
ADDRESSES: Home—Bremen, Germany. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Carcanet Press, 4th Floor, Alliance House, Cross St., Manchester M2 7AP, England.
CAREER: Freelance writer and translator. University of Victoria, British Columbia, Lansdowne visiting writer/professor, spring, 1992.
AWARDS, HONORS: Alice Hunt Bartlett Award, 1988; Dillons Commonwealth Poetry Prize, 1989; Poetry Society Book Recommendation, 1991, for Monkey Shadows; Cholmondeley Award, 1991.
Brunizem, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 1988.
Monkey Shadows, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 1991.
Freak Waves (chapbook), Reference West (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 1992.
The Stinking Rose, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 1995.
Point No Point: Selected Poems, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 1997.
Augatora, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 2000.
My Mother's Way of Wearing a Sari, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2000.
A Colour for Solitude, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Sujata Bhatt is a poet whose work was hailed by critics from the start of her writing career. Bhatt's parents are Indian, but she grew up in the United States and later married a German citizen. Her first collection, Brunizem, moves through the stages and countries of her life, from India, to North America, to Europe. She is "comfortable with meditative, expansive narratives, even with shorter spells of rumination interspersed with brisk commentaries," noted K. Narayana Chandran in World Literature Today. Chandran found she was "not so impressive when she sketches, or when she is eager to present things in a nutshell."
Bhatt's next collection, Monkey Shadows, contains some work of "astonishing brilliance," according to another review by Chandran in World Literature Today. Chandran praised "White Asparagus" as "a stunning onslaught of a poem, a body slipping the leash of its mind at one furious go, as it were." Bhatt covers scenes of post-World War II Germany, portrays everyday lives in India, and uses a band of Rhesus monkeys as a metaphor for the human condition in Monkey Shadows. Her work in this collection shows that she understands "what it means to talk about cultures, across vast and dizzying gulfs of incomprehension, to heads swollen with colonial, racial prejudices," stated Chandran.
Bhatt is "an accomplished poet using her multicultural background to its fullest effect," praised Sudeep Sen in a World Literature Today review of Bhatt's collection Point No Point: Selected Poems. This volume is "substantial," in Sen's opinion, a book that "allows us to travel, dream, and learn, but one that ultimately moves us by its quietude of stance and impeccable articulation." Summing up Bhatt's talents, Sen noted her ability to "use free verse with delicacy, poise, and effect. Her lines are tight, her metaphors unusual, and her range of themes wide." In another commentary on Point No Point in World Literature Today, Sen claimed that Bhatt's greatest strength is her ability to stretch "imagination's limits through lucid use of language, employing images that are clear and simple and locations that are surprising."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Antioch Review, January 1, 2001, Jane Satterfield, review of Augatora, p. 123.
Journal of Commonwealth Literature, spring, 2000, Cecile Sandten, "In Her Own Voice: Sujata Bhatt and the Aesthetic Articulation of the Diaspora Condition," p. 99.
Observer, October 26, 1997, review of Point No Point: Selected Poems, p. 15.
Times Literary Supplement, October 27, 1995, Elizabeth Lowry, review of The Stinking Rose, p. 27; August 8, 1997, Sudeep Sen, review of Point No Point: Selected Poems, p. 16; December 22, 2000, Peter Daniels Luczinski, review of Augatora, p. 22.
World Literature Today, September 22, 1984, K. Narayana Chandran, review of Brunizem, p. 884; January 1, 1995, K. Narayana Chandran, review of Monkey Shadows, p. 223; September 22, 1997, Sudeep Sen, review of Point No Point: Selected Poems, p. 868; September 22, 2000, Sudeep Sen, review of Recent Indian English Poetry, p. 783.