Songs of Kabir praised by August Kleinzahler in The New York Times Book Review

“Arvind Krishna Mehrotra’s new translation of Kabir brings the poetry of the great 15th-century Indian poet and holy man to life in English for the first time. Not that others haven’t tried: Pound, Robert Bly and, most notably, Rabindranath Tagore in 1915, with a version consisting of thees, thous and thines, delivered in a sandalwood-scented prayer-book-ese that would not have been out of place atop a teak sidetable at one of Mme. Blavatsky’s legendary seances. But it is Mehrotra who has succeeded in capturing the ferocity and improvisational energy of Kabir’s poetry.” —August Kleinzahler, The New York Times Book Review

A Traveller in Time

coverThe New York Review Children’s Collection is pleased to present A Traveller in Time, a historical adventure story, by Alison Uttley. This new title, along with a selection of books by other British
writers of children’s literature, are available for a limited time at 30% off.

May Classics

We are pleased to announce two new May releases from NYRB Classics: Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age, Bohumil Hrabal’s stunning confessional novel and the first work from a Czech writer to be included in the NYRB Classics series; and Gillian Rose’s Love’s Work, a sharp and touching meditation inspired by the beloved author’s confrontation with cancer and the questions of how to overcome despair in the face of loss.

April Classics

We are pleased to announce these April releases from NYRB Classics: Milton Rokeach’s classic and unforgettable psychological narrative, The Three Christs of Ypsilanti; Penelope Mortimer’s The Pumpkin Eater, a haunting novel about a woman with a philandering screenwriter husband and a brood of children; and now in English for the first time, Fatale, a thriller by a master of French crime novels, Jean-Patrick Manchette.

A Letter from the Editor

I’m nothing
Says Kabir
I’m not among the living
Or the dead

It is true, in a way—true at least that next to nothing is known about Kabir, a mysterious figure from medieval North India who is one of the world’s great religious poets. During his life, which is said to have extended for well over a hundred years, Kabir was celebrated as a poet and as a sant, or holy man, and many legends, some as unlikely as his reputed lifespan, have grown up around his name. It is generally accepted, however, that he came from a low-caste Hindu family that had recently converted to Islam and that he was a weaver—someone, in other words, very much on the outside of good society. Kabir’s songs have come down to us both through a number of written sources—none, however, that can be traced to Kabir’s hand—as well as through a lively, extensive, and very varied tradition of oral performance, and they continue to be sung in the fields and on the streets of India. Some of the songs are otherworldly, others are biting send-ups of the world and its ways, while Kabir’s God is a shapeshifter whose only true and always unseizable form is the form prepared within the heart of the true devotee. In Arvind Krishna Mehrotra’s wonderful new translation, Kabir’s work takes on a startling and unforgettable new shape in the English of our time.