The Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 primarily for this work, parts of which he had rendered into the lucid, grave English prose of prayer. Although he wrote over 40 books of poetry, this is the only one whose name is known outside the subcontinent. Tagore's most famous work deserves to be seen as it appeared in the Bengali - a series of jewels, the whole with the authority virtually of a holy book, and each one a metaphysical delight. Joe Winter's complete translation, the first in English verse, emulates the grandeur and lightness of movement of these wonderful song-poems.
Joe Winter, born in London in 1943, taught English in secondary schools in London from 1967-94. He has contributed regularly to 'The Statesman'. Anvil has also published 'Guest and Host', his poems of life in Calcutta, and 'Naked Lonely Hand', his selection of poems by Jibanananda Das. His versions of Tagore's essays 'Of Myself' (Atmaparichay; co-translated with Devadatta Joardar) and Das's 'Bengal the Beautiful' are published in 2006.