Sonata for Four Hands
Published by Arc Publications
Sonata for Four Hands is Amarjit Chadan’s long-awaited first full-length collection to be published in Britain and comes with a preface by the distinguished writer John Berger, long-time admirer of Chandan’s work. Ironic, lyrical, sometimes angry or regretful, these poems, written in Punjabi but by a poet settled in Britain, add a new dimension to contemporary poetry.
"With this spiritual, rooted poetry Amarjit Chandan has the capacity to return our own lives to us more richly."
Moniza Alvi, Modern Poetry in Translation
"One of the more intriguing elements of Amarjit Chandan’s Sonata for Four Hands is that some of the poems here provided in their original Punjabi form have been translated into English by the poet himself, stepping through two linguistic mirrors to re-contact the original vision with startling immediacy..."
Tim Liardet, Poetry Review
"This collection of poems by Amarjit Chandan is a most unusual and valuable book... this is the landscape of the poet’s mind, inescapable, harsh, dappled with warm shadows of memories, irrigated by pain and loneliness."
"The collection is aptly named: a lyricism crafted by the hands of the poet and his translators permeates every poem and Chandan's sadness, nostalgia and desire are captured eloquently and beautifully by his poetry."
The Warwick Review
"Writing poems both in Punjabi and English, language, mother tongue, is of great importance to Chandan; yet his use of language is unsentimental, uncluttered, and so restrained that it has a unique delicacy. Words are used with a quiet focus, time and place are layered with multiple, subtle, searching meanings. Poignant, humane, delicate and layered, this book is a rich record of Chandan's work."
"An Outstanding Work: Worthy of Celebration... Following his imprisonment for two years in solitary confinement at the time of his militancy in the Naxalite movement, Chandan was forced to confront the failure of both words and silence in the attempt to remake reality after such trauma. What emerged, and what, for me at least, gives this collection its poise and liveliness, is the sense of a renewed commitment to poetry as an act of further resistance, understood and practised not through the old ‘words as weapons’ model but through the daily work of reasserting the beauty and power of language by giving exact and loving attention to its many different levels... in this beautiful book: his eighth collection, but (and one of the several important points Stephen Watts makes in his fine-tuned introduction is the significance of this fact) although Punjabi is statistically the second most widely spoken language in the UK, and although Chandan is widely recognised as a major voice in contemporary poetry, only the first full bilingual Punjabi collection printed in Britain – making the author and translators’ outstanding work, and Arc Publications’ decision to add it to its fine catalogue, all the more worthy of celebration."
Cristina Viti, Exile Ink
"Sonata for Four Hands — the first bilingual volume of a Punjabi poet ever published in the UK — will give readers wider access to his work, and allow a deeper assessment of his place as a writer of international stature and his significance as a poet living in Britain today."