prabal kumar basu



Prabal Kumar Basu (Bengali: প্রবালকুমার বসু, born 1960) is an Indian poet, essayist and editor. Writing in his mother tongue Bengali, Prabal enjoys a distinguished position in the national literary scenario as a post-independent Bengali poet. His works are significant in the long and rich tradition of Bengali literature.

early life

Prabal Kumar Basu was born on 21 September 1960, in Kolkata, the erstwhile Calcutta to Debkumar Basu[1] and Chhanda Basu. Debkumar Basu was quite well known and active in the Bengali cultural sphere primarily during the period 1950-1990. Most of Debkumar’s friends and acquaintances, were prominent men and women from the cultural fraternity. They would often visit his home and Prabal soaked up everything they epitomized. Prabal’s literary aspirations were thus shaped and inspired by these stalwarts who were more like his mentors. One of the most important was the poet Shakti Chattopadhyay [2] and the best days of his childhood and youth were spent in his company. Prabal travelled extensively with the senior poet through hills, villages, forests and the seas. They explored the nature together. Prabal’s close association with nature increased manifold while he was studying Engineering at Jalpaiguri which was close to the Dooars forest. Nature has had a great impact in his future poetic journey. After poet Shakti Chattopadhayay’s death Prabal came in close proximity with another literary stalwart Sunil Gangopadhyay. His later works were greatly influenced and shaped by Sunil’s modernism, during this time Prabal was greatly induced by world literature to which he was initiated into by the senior poet and novelist.

Literary career & contributions

Prabal started writing poetry from his college days and his first poetry book “Tumi i Pratham” was published immediately after he graduated. This brought him critical acclaim and he was awarded Gauri Bhattacharjee Memorial Award. Prabal was also associated in production of verse drama from his younger days. In 1981, he formed a cultural organization named Adhunik Sanskritik Parishad, which used to stage ballet forms of poems.

In 2002, Prabal edited “Signposts: 50 years of Bengali Poetry since Independence”. Since then, the book has become one of the most well-read and talked about books on Bengali poetry in English. In 2003 Prabal was instrumental in setting up a Trust: “Kolkata International Foundation for Art, Literature and Culture”, along with famous artists, theater personalities, poets and other culturally-enriched individuals. Their objective was to set up a multi-cultural center in Kolkata.

Prabal received much fame and accolades, along with the West Bengal Bangla Akademy Puraskar, for his poetry book Jamon Kore Gaichhe Akash in 2005. In this same year he was invited to the Third International Poetry Festival in Wellington, New Zealand. The festival was a confluence of poets from across the globe and Prabal developed a connection with other International poets. This greatly helped him acquire an international diction and world viewpoint which is evident in his later works. One of the most eponymous moments came in to Prabal’s life when he attended the ‘Writers and Artists In-Residency Programme’ as an invited guest of the President of India during 2017. He stayed at the Rashtrapati Bhawan for two weeks and had multiple cultural exchanges with the President himself.

Literary works

Following are the list of Prabalkumar Basu’s literary works in different fields of literature:

Poetry collections

  • Tumi i Pratham (1983)

  • Byaktigata Smritistambher Pashe (1987)

  • Sthayee Abaas O sthayee Thikana (1989)

  • Janmobeej (1993)

  • Yapanchitra (1994)

  • Isworer Mukh (1998)

  • Jemon Kore Gaichhe Akaash (2002)

  • Manobanchha Ek Bindu Jol (2004)

  • KothaTheke Shuru Karbo (2006)

  • Shreshtho Kabita (2007)

  • Aapnakei Thik Karte Hobe Gantyabyo (2008)

  • Adharma Katha (2009)

  • Bhalo Bolte Shikhun (2011)

  • Premer Kabita (2012)

  • Nirbachito Duratwo Mene (2013)

  • Ei Je Ami Chalechi (2015)

  • Aami To Boltei Partam (2017)

  • Nirbachito Kabita (2017)

  • Bhebechi Emni bhabei Hoy (2018)

  • Balite Joler Dag (2019)



Works translated in English


  • Of Lonely Rocks and Upright Trees (2006)

  • All About Umbrellas (2008)

  • As I Wander Along (2018)


Short stories

  • Paradox of Truth (2013)


Short story collections (Bengali)

  • Moha Bhoj (1993)

  • Aamar Somoy Aamar Galpo (2008)

  • Galpoi Galpo (2011)


Verse drama collections (Bengali)

  • Chakrabyuha O Anyanyo Kabyanatya (2005)

  • Kabyanatya Sangraha (2013)


Collection of essays

  • Andho Jato Hoy Tato Dekhe (2007)

  • Mor Bhabanare (2018)

  • Tarun Kabir Kabyobhasha (2018)

  • Chalte Chalte Rashtrapati Bhabana (2018)

  • Kichhu Dekha Kichhu Katha (2019)

  • Antoraaler Golpokatha (2019)


Edited books

  • Signposts: Bengali Poetry since Independence

  • Anyo Aalo: Selection of essays by eminent authors, published in Yapanchitra magazine (2015)

Awards & recognition

  • Gauri Bhattacharjee Memorial Award (1984)

  • State Academy Award for Poetry (2005)

  • Invitee at the 3rd Wellington International Poetry Festival in New Zealand (2005)

  • Invitee at the 4th World Haiku Conference in Tokyo (2007)

  • Invited by President of India, to President House, India, for fifteen days to join “Writers & Artists In-Residence” Program (2017)