Professor Jack Hawley Publishes a New Book

In 2023 Jack Hawley published a paperback volume of translations of poems bearing the name of Surdas that he and, especially, Kenneth Bryant have established as belonging to the 16th century, when Surdas lived. This selection focuses exclusively on Krishna and his world.

As Harvard University Press, the publisher, explains, “The blind poet Surdas has been regarded as the epitome of artistry in Hindi verse from the end of the sixteenth century, when he lived, to the present day. His fame rests upon his remarkable refashioning of the widely known narrative of the Hindu deity Krishna and his lover Radha into lyrics that are at once elegant and approachable. Surdas's popularity led to the proliferation, through an energetic oral tradition, of poems ascribed to him, known collectively as the Sūrsāgar.”

"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

April 01, 2024