Hemant Divate is a reputed Indian poet and writes in his mother tongue, Marathi.
Hemant’s first book of poems, Chautishiparyantchya Kavita (2000), was a path-breaking collection which redefined poetry. It was translated into the English by the renowned poet and translator Dilip Chitre and titled Virus Alert. Chitre decided to translate the entire first collection of Divate’s Marathi poems because, in Chitre’s words, ‘they had significance beyond Marathi in a globalizing world. [Hemant’s] poems were consistently good and the book made a coherent poetic statement about life in Mumbai since the 1990s. It revealed a disturbed and disturbing microcosm and the poems could withstand translation.’
Hemant’s second collection of poems, Thambtach Yet Nahi (2005), received an overwhelming response from the Marathi literary world. His poems have been translated into French, German, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil and Malayalam.
Hemant has to his credit many prestigious awards for his first collection of poems.
These include the
i. Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad’s ‘Yuva Sahitya Puraskar’ (Kolkata),
ii. Vasant Sawant Puraskar,
iii.Vishakha Puraskar and
iv. Ashirwad Award.
His second collection was adjudged the best poetry collection in Marathi from 2006 to 2009 by the prestigious Yashwantrao Chavan Sahityik and Sanskritik Pratishthan.
Hemant Divate is also an accomplished translator. He has translated a few selected poems of the well-known Australian poet Les Murray which have been published by Katha (Delhi).
Recently, the Center for International Poetry, Marseille, France, selected Hemant for the Import/Export programme, during which he translated selected works of three French poets into Marathi and his poems were translated into French, the reading of which happened in Mumbai (India) and Marseille (France). Hemant has read his poetry in Marathi and in English translation at various national and international poetry festivals in India and abroad.
Hemant renewed the little magazine movement in the year 1992 by editing and publishing Abhidha, which helped in getting the literary fraternity closer. However, over many years, he realized that this movement had to gather a greater momentum and thus required a bigger commitment from him. This realization led to establishing Abhidhanantar in 1998. The magazine proved to be one of the best things to have happened to the Marathi literary scene.
Abhidhanantar was a very niche quarterly in Marathi that is dedicated to poetry, literature and art. It became a rock-solid backbone for the post-1990s poets in the post-globalization age and helped bring together and finally consolidate the literary fraternity. It provided a great platform to new talents in Marathi poetry, especially to the group of post-1990s poets, to which Hemant himself belongs. Abhidhanantar was honoured with the Maharashtra Foundation Award for its outstanding contribution to Marathi literature.
Hemant simultaneously began a publishing house, Abhidhanantar & Poetrywala, in an unassuming manner. Today, it has to its credit 30 of the best and most powerful collections of poetry published in Marathi as well as English.
Hemant’s poetry has appeared in the following anthologies:
i. Live Update (Poetrywala, 2005)
ii. Ugavatiche Rang (Penguin India, 2008)
iii. Anawat Wata (Wangmayseva, 2009)
iv. Kavibharati 5 (Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, 2010)
v. Import/Export (Mumbai/Marseille, 2011)
Hemant’s forthcoming books are
i. Depressingly Monotonous Landscape (Marathi)
ii. Hemant Divate Ki Chuni huyi Kavitaaen (Post-globalization Marathi poems translated into the Hindi by Sarabjeet Garcha)
iii. Ten POGO Poems (Selected Marathi poems translated into the English by Sarabjeet Garcha)
Hemant lives and works in Mumbai.
The Abhidhanantar Movement: A Note Abhidhanantar(1991-2008), edited by a young Marathi poet Hemant Divate, was one of the foremost little magazines in Marathi. It has been around for almost a decade and half. It was one of the earliest literary magazine and literary movement in Marathi to recognize and respond creatively to the powerful forces of globalization which were rapidly transforming Indian society, culture and life. Abhidhanantar gave generous attention to the linguistic, cultural and literary changes taking place in the last 15 years and the crises of identity they generate. It provided a platform to the new poets who came into their own in the nineties and who were responding to the new cultural and social predicament brought about by the forces of globalization, and also offered a forum for critical speculation and discussion.
Abhidhanantar is in the tradition of famous `little magazine movement’ in Marathi poetry heralded by internationally renowned poets like Dilip Chitre and Arun Kolatkar in the fifties. The poetry of this movement is radical, experimental and non-conformist. The aesthetics it promoted insisted on erasing the artificial dichotomy between art and life, and between poetics and politics. This movement lost its momentum in the late seventies and the serious poetry of 80’s refused to emerge out the looming shadows of their illustrious predecessors like Chitre, Kolatkar, Namdeo Dhasal and others. Due overwhelming influence of the ideologies like nativism, as expounded by Bhalachandra Nemade, a noted novelist and critic, the poetry became more and more parochial and typical. It was only in the nineties, that the young poets started searching for their individual voices by responding to the culture and society transformed by the compelling forces unleashed by globalization and privatization. Abhidhanantar gave an open platform for poets from various social, cultural and geographical locations eager to do something different and original in poetry for almost fifteen years. It also brought out very authoritative special issues like theDilip Chitre special issue, the Arun Kolatkar special issue and a special issue on Globalization and Marathi poetry.
Looking back, Abhidhanantar has played a historic role in shaping contemporary Marathi poetry. Abhidhanantar began as Abhidha in1992. It ran for seven years. The last issue of Abhidha came out in 1998 and, after its registration with RNI the very next year Abhidhanantar, which literally means `after Abhidha’ was born. Many exciting young poets and critics like Saleel Wagh, Sachin Ketkar, Manya Joshi, Sanjeev Khandekar, including Hemant himself have published their best works in this magazine. Moreover, Abhidhanantar is also a publishing house which has brought out thirteen poetry collections of outstanding quality of some of the very best new voices in Marathi today. Its English imprint `Poetrywala’ published `Live Update: An Anthology of Recent Marathi Poetry, edited and translated by Sachin Ketkar last year and performed the decisive task of making contemporary Marathi poetry available to the non- Marathi readers. It has also made the recent Marathi poetry, globally accessible with the pioneering concept of E – books. It has also very recently published ` As Is, Where Is’, a collection of English poetry and Selected Marathi poems of Chitre, translated by the poet himself titled `Shesha’ .
In short, the Abhidhanantar movement is creating nothing less than history in Marathi poetry. Sachin Ketkar Poet, Translator and Critic