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Acrobat is a radiant collection of poetry about womanhood, intimacy, and the body politic that together evokes the arc of an ordinary life. Nabaneeta Dev Sen's rhythmic lines explore the joys and agonies of first love, childbirth, and decay with a restless, tactile imagination, both picking apart and celebrating the rituals that make us human. When she warns, "know that blood can be easily drawn by lips," her words tune to the fierce and biting depths of language, to the "treachery that lingers on tongue tips." At once compassionate and unsparing, conversational and symphonic, these poems tell of a rope shivering beneath an acrobat's nimble feet or of a twisted, blood-soaked umbilical cord -- they pluck the invisible threads that bind us together.
Nabaneeta Dev Sen (1938 – 2019) remains one of the most beloved, versatile and prolific Bengali writers of all time. Equally expressive in poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction, she has over one hundred books to her credit, including compilations of poems, novels, plays, stories, memoirs, academic essays, children's literature, political columns, literary translations, and multiple volumes of her collected works. Educated in Presidency College and then at Harvard, Berkeley and Indiana Universities, Dev Sen lived a parallel life as a highly acclaimed international scholar and feminist, and a distinguished professor of comparative literature. Her many honors include the Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award, Bangla Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, Big Little Book Award for Children’s Literature, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Publishers and Booksellers Guild. Nabaneeta Dev Sen was the Founder and President of the West Bengal Women Writers’ Association, Soi.
A writer, child-rights activist, and an award-winning actor, Nandana Dev Sen is the author of six children’s books, translated into more than 15 languages globally. She grew up in India, England and America, and has starred in 20 feature films from four continents (and in multiple languages). After studying literature at Harvard and filmmaking at USC, Nandana worked as a book editor, a screenwriter, an advocate for child protection, and as Princess Jasmine in Disneyland. The winner of the Last Girl Champion Award as well as several Best Actress awards, Nandana has served on the jury of numerous child-protection commissions, global film festivals and international literary prizes. As an ambassador, she has represented UNICEF and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, and is Artist Ambassador for Save the Children India. She can be reached on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ambassador Rich Verma is the General Counsel and Head of Global Public Policy at Mastercard and a Senior Advisor to the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council. He previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to India; as a former Assistant Secretary of State; and as the National Security Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In the private sector, Rich was a partner at Steptoe & Johnson for many years, and is the former Vice Chairman of The Asia Group, a leading global consulting firm. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Rich is the recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal and the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award. Rich serves on a number of boards and commissions, including the National Endowment for Democracy and Lehigh University. He holds multiple degrees, including a doctorate from Georgetown University and a law degree from American University.