Translations in Sadequain: Artist and Poet

Friends, I am excited to share with you the publication of Sadequain: Artist And Poet, a memoir by the illustrious Saiyid Ali Naqvi, who is a cousin of the painter and calligrapher Sadequain. The book is full of anecdotes about their time and conversations together, and includes images and analyses of Sadequain’s paintings put in conversation with poetry.

I had the privilege of working with Saiyid Sahab to translate many of the poems and verses in this book. It was a process of years, and involved many joys and frustrations. I would travel twice a week to Saiyid Sahab’s home, he would show me verses he’d selected, I’d offer a translation, and he would offer feedback. We would then work together to come up with a final version. We had many, many beautiful conversations about poetry during this time. Saiyid Sahab, who is himself a brilliant poet of Urdu, has taught me so much, and our conversations have profoundly affected my own writing.

Today, I am finally able to hold the book in my hands, and all sorts of emotions are welling up. How many hours and how much thought were poured into it! And how wonderful it is to finally see all that labor bear fruit!