With a rich collection of poetry, prose and artworks from both established and talented new writers around the world, the current issue of Six Seasons Review (New Series, Volume 4, Number 1), published by Bengal Publications, is a treat to readers who keep themselves abreast of English writing in Bangladesh. It features 15 stories, 35 poems, three artworks and one nonfiction piece. The cover design – pendant light bulbs on wires hanging from a yellow background – by Jahangir Palash makes it aesthetically appealing.
The issue begins with “The Great Divorce” by Shehtaz Huq, a story of Tasneem, who, against all odds, leads a happy life in a one-bedroom apartment in Virginia after divorce. Harlan Yarbrough offers a good story in “Lonnie’s Prayer,” a love story about a professional country singer, Ross, and a recently graduated mathematician, Rosanna. Nadeem Zaman gives us a compelling story to sink into. His “Eavesdroppers” centers around the lives of a childless couple and their friends who like to pry into an ever-quarrelling neighboring couple – Rahat and Rubina Qureshi – in an attempt to forget their own problems in life. Other standouts in fiction are: “Points” by Anika Saba; “The Faridpur Incident” by Neeman Sobhan; “Burning Man” by David Schultz; “Exile at Ashville” by Sohana Manzoor and “Last Days of the Dictator” by Hasan Al Zayed.
However, with most of the fiction so genuine, one can expect the poetry to follow suit. The most interesting feature of the poetry section is three poems by Sudeep Sen, a poet, translator and editor based in India. His triptych – “Driftwood,” “Acrostic” and “Sigrid” – pays tribute to Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucian poet and playwright, and winner of 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature, who died last year. Bengt Berg’s poems, “Realization” and “Get Ready for a New Day,” meditate on the forces of the natural world. Other poems of note are: “Writer’s Block” by Sayeeda T Ahmad; “Go Fish” and “Vacation Hexing” by Les Wicks; “Hashtags” by Anjana Basu; “Beloved” by Khadija Rouf; and “In Court with the Stars and “To Readers, Everywhere” by Indran Amirthanayagam.
The only nonfiction piece, “Proverbs” by Humayun Azad in Rajib Ahmed’s translation, is also an interesting piece of reading. The art section of this edition is equally charged and interesting. “Working Class Superheroes” and “Quirks in Chaos” by Kazi Istela Imam; and “Untitled – A Comic about Nothing” by Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy are three such artworks to look out for.
A wide variety of works from around the world makes the current issue of Six Seasons Review unique. At the same time, it offers a welcoming platform for aspiring and talented writers from Bangladesh, fostering the growing corpus of Bangladeshi writing in English.
Mir Arif is a fiction writer. He works with Arts & Letters.