Cover: Sur’s Ocean: Classic Hindi Poetry in Translation, from Harvard University PressCover: Sur’s Ocean in PAPERBACK

Sur’s Ocean

Classic Hindi Poetry in Translation

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$19.95 • £17.95 • €18.95

ISBN 9780674290174

Publication Date: 02/01/2023


208 pages

5-1/4 x 8 inches

Murty Classical Library of India


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Surdas, the wildly popular sixteenth-century composer of these poems, reworked well-known stories of Krishna as a child, a butter thief, a cowherd, a heartbreaker, and a charismatic deity into a new oral literary tradition. Translated into a slightly antiquated but colloquial English that passes for contemporary speech while reminding us of the distance between our time and the time in which these poems were sung, John Stratton Hawley miraculously manages to braid the charged erotic and divine qualities of Krishna, the many-named god, while introducing us—with subtle occasional rhyme—to a vividly particularized world of prayers and crocodile earrings, spiritual longing and love-struck bees.—Forrest Gander, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Sur’s Ocean is a lovingly crafted and meticulously attentive translation of the superbly beautiful corpus of devotional love poetry associated with the sixteenth-century north Indian poet Surdas. Hawley has given us a Surdas who is both perennial and speaks persuasively to the present.—Ranjit Hoskote, winner of the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation and author of Jonahwhale

Praise for Sur’s Ocean: Poems from the Early Tradition:

These moving, elegant and accessible poems were hugely popular in their times spawning an oral tradition so vibrant that poems continued to be composed in the tradition started by Sur, under his name, by several other poets as well.—Pragya Tiwari, India at LSE blog

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