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Biography
Hassanal Abdullah Poet, novelist, critic, and the author of 18 books including 10 collections of poetry, was born in Gopalgonj, Bangladesh. From the beginning of his writing career, he established his own tone and voice. He introduced sonnets with the rhyming scheme abcdabc defgdef with 7 line stanzas. He calls them SWATANTRA SONNETS; the second edition of a book with the same title was published in 2004. He also has published a novel (1994) and a textbook on Bengali rhetoric and prosody, KOBITAR CHHANDA, (Bangla Academy, 1997). All were written in Bengali and published from Dhaka, except the bilingual collection, BREATH OF BENGAL (2000), which was published by Cross-Cultural Communications, Merrick, New York, and was translated into English by Nazrul Islam Naz, a British-Bengali poet. Hassanal is the editor of a bilingual (Bengali-English) poetry journal, SHABDAGUCHHA, which is also available on the web: http://www.shabdaguchha.com. He regularly contributes to major newspapers and journals published from both Dhaka and Kolkata. He also has contributed to poetry magazines in the United States, such as LIPS, PATERSON LITERARY REVIEW, POETRYBAY, MEDICINAL PURPOSES LITERARY REVIEW, and ASBESTOS ETC. He was honored as the 'Centerpiece Poet' in the Year's End Issue, 2001, of the MEDICINAL PURPOSES LITERARY REVIEW. Hassanal has also participated in various readings in the New York City area, including appearing at Barnes and Noble as a Featured Poet. His most recent book is the 314-page epic, NAKHATRA O MANUSAR PROCHHED (Anayna, 2007), written on the universe and life in it. He has translated Charles Baudelaire, Stanley Kunitz, Nicanor Parra, Wislawa Szymborska, and Gerald Stern into Bengali, Biswha Kobitar Koyed Chhatra (Shaitta Bikash, 2008), Shamsur Rahman, Shamsur Rahman, Humayun Azad, and many more Bengali poets into English. KOBITER JANMODAG (Mowla, 2008), is his collection of critical essays on poetry. He was shortlisted as a finalist for the position of Queens Borough Poet Laureate in 2007. He was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2009. He lives in New York City.

SWATANTRA SONNET 21

- by Hassanal Abdallah (Translated from the Bengali by Catherine Fletcher and Goutam Datta)

Enter with a bare chest. Dear lady, the complex
cage of dress fails to give me deepest pleasure.
I want naked beauty, like the snakes and the trees.
Twenty-eight’s blooming youth longs for the wild tastes
of a violet butterfly. The prickly obstacles of wanton sex
will depart quickly, vanish from our side and rapture
unfurl sweet wings in musical ecstasy.

Not too complicated, true, yet it’s tough to find
that hidden nymph—her face and breasts and the unseen
babbles of her sea.  A blooming body, shy and fair
in dense forest sleeps fearfully.  Approach with haste
could make her stomach flutter—the depths of  beauty’s mind
might be oblivious. But the field’s never been
so fertile— terrifically ready and clear.