“By the Banks of the Ajoy…” Reviewed by Federica Nightingale

The last poetry collection by Subhankar Das, “By the Banks of the Ajoy, Jaideb Vanishes into
the Blue”, is a true jump into a world of images and stunning views of ordinary life. Edited by
Virgogray Press, the book is printed bilingual, in English and Bangla. The title poem of the book
alludes to authors Henry Miller and Henry Denanant while mingling with echoes of Bangla lore of
the mythical poet Jaideb who lived by the river Ajoy. The poet’s poetic language and voice — a mix
of traditions — with the peculiar match of bilinguism, give the reader an enlightened view on the
puzzle of existence, as well as the surreal effect of transforming every verse into a necessary path
which leads to the Truth. Natural elements are the stones on which the poet inscribes his visions, by
drawing a straight line that separates appearances from substance. Voices from the past, memories,
and the blues often populate the lengthy free verse, telling us short stories of love and melancholy,
while a disenchanted eye of resignation keeps looking forward toward success. Subhankar Das’
poetic world is strictly cynical, apparently hopeless; beauty is a mere misunderstanding, a conflict
turned into slapstick comedy. Pervading the whole book is a pessimistic vein in which life and
death alternate between despair and nothingness, causing a loss of trust in love, which could be
the only anchor. The long prose poem that is the collection’s title piece can be considered to be the
manifestation of the author’s exploration of life’s mysteries, black holes, and unsolved responses,
his search for a way to human nature and nature’s signs. A powerful visionary grasps at a gleam of
hope. Without doubt, this is a worthwhile and inspiring read.

“That pretty fish in my aquarium who loved me so dearly is gone

today. Why do they all go? Where do they go? There is a staying

in every going away. All the rocks are but mad. They have lost

their stoniness in these magical lights, unknowingly, that’s why

instead of the heart there plays a light. She’s not here but I see

her sitting on a chair every day with her tresses flowing,

thinking unmindful.”

(from the poem By the Banks of Ajoy, Jaideb Vanishes into the Blue)


Federica Nightingale is a poet, writer and translator. She is Editor in Chief of  Project Collage (Errant Editions Small Digital Publisher).

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