Goutam Datta
    Goutam is the author of five books of poems; He writes in both English and Bengali . He is the co-editor of African American poetry Anthology Ami Amar Mritur Por Sadhinota Chai Na (I Do Not Want My Freedom When I Am Dead ) with Sunil Gangopadhyay. His works are included in "A Mingling of Waters", an anthology of Bengali and American authors and Rattapallax magazine. Goutam won Jassimuddin Poetry Award(India) in 2005 for Borofay Holood Fool. Sudhindranath Award in 2008, Vashangar Award in 2017. At present, Goutam is working on a webzine Uralpool to create a continuous literary exchange between India & the USA.

    The 1st issue of Urhalpool webzine was published in 2008, Barack Obama had been just elected as the President of the United States of America. Like many little magazines, Urhalpool stopped publication after the first few years. My mentor Sunil (Poet Sunil Gangopadhyay) once said “ A Little Magazine is like a poet, he/she writes some and then stops writing, a bohemian mind, goes to hiatus but that does not mean it is dead!” Again, Urhalpool is back from hiatus, thanks to our friends at Banglalive.com andwill be published once a quarter like before. We will continue our efforts in translation works to bring Bengali literature to world readers and world literature to Bengali readers.

    The world was a crazy place before and now it is becoming crazier! There is a general statement in every culture “Olden days were golden”. I do not believe in that statement. In olden days, there were wars, slavery, and feudalism. Wars in name of religion killed more people than all other wars combined. The same war still continues in name of Radical Islamic terrorism.How many African Americans have to be killed in the hands of police force for us to say enough is enough?Look what is happening to Bengalis in Bangladesh. Even blog writers are getting killed by religious extremists. Bangladeshi blog writers (AvijitBijoy Das, Washiqur Rahman, Avijt Roy, RajibHaider )irrespective of their religion, were recently killed by religious extremists. TahminaAnam, a NY Times OP-ED writer writes in NY Times that Pakistan is a lost case for the brave citizens who have gone up against the fundamentalists and lost. She writes “But now we have to think not about the country (Bangladesh) we could have been, but the one we are. Which is this: a country where so many bloggers have been murdered in the last two years. A country where a writer’s books were withdrawn from sale because of death threats against a distributor, and where the writer himself, Mr. Roy, can be brutally assassinated in broad daylight.”

    We must stand together with those brave Bengali poets, writers, and bloggers in Bangladesh. At first we are all ‘Bangalees’ and Bangla is our mother tongue irrespective of our religions. In the next 50 years, if not sooner, Dhaka will be the center of Bengali literature. I am proud of Bangladesh where everyone across all generations speak and writein Bengali. While most of the younger generation in & around Kolkata speak in a cosmopolitan mixed language of English, Hindi and Bengali! I hope that in the near future both Bengals will engage in free cultural and business exchanges that will benefit Bengalis in both sides of the border.

    Bengali novels and stories in West Bengal are becoming shackled by the number of pages, words one must write to get published in a magazine. Rhymed poems are neo-normal part of Bengali poetry while rhymed poems are out of norm in all major languages!We are keeping Urhalpool’s white pages open for the readers and writers to fill them with the ink of straight talk and real conversation. Poets, writers send us your creative breakthrough material without fear of length or norms. Let many languages use Urhalpool as their creative bridge and for conversation. We thank all writers and poets for their contributions to show diversity in literature. Let us enjoy reading their works.