Friday, March 17, 2017



Mamta Sagar is a poet, writer, playwright, translator and an activist writing in Kannada language spoken in Karnataka, the Southern Indian State. Her writings focus on identity politics, feminism, issues around linguistic and cultural diversities. She is a recipient of the Charles Wallace India Trust fellowship for the year 2015 at the British Centre for Literary Translation, University of East Anglia, UK. She was invited as ‘Poet in Residence’ to Belgrade, Serbia by AUROPOLIS, an Association of Multimedia Artists 2012.
Genres attempted: poetry, performance poetry, lyrics for the movies, plays, short prose, column writing, essays, academic writings, criticisms, art reviews, journalistic writings, translations from and into the Kannada language.

Poetry/Literature Festivals attended: City Scripts/Urban Writing Festival IIHS Bengaluru 3-5 Feb 2017, 17th Poesie festival Berlin 2016,  Safi International Poetry Festival, Morocco 2016, Poetry presentation and provocation at Worlds 2015, lit-fest hosted by the Norwich Writers Centre, UK. She has participated and presented poems at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2015, Crossbones Festival London 2015, Pune International Literary Festival 2015, Hyderabad Literature Festival 2015, 2014, 2012, New Delhi World Book Fair 2014, 2015, Chennai Book Fair 2014, The International Poetry and Literature Festivals-Vietnam (2010 and 2012), Mamta was invited by the Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi for reading and interaction with Noni Benegas, poet from Argentina, New Delhi 2012, poetry reading and panel discussion ‘Body & Biography’ @ LEKHANA a festival of literature, Bangalore 2012, Bangalore Literature Festival, Bengaluru, 2012, 2013, 2014. The International Translation workshop and Living Literature Festival Ljubljana-Slovenia (2010), Granada International Poetry Festival-Nicaragua (2010), XVIII International Poetry Festival of Medellin-Colombia (2008), 5th International Congress “Defending Cultural Diversity”, Havana-Cuba (2007), Poetry Africa-South Africa (2005) and South Asian Literary Association International Conference, San Diego, USA (2003).
Publications: Mamta Sagar has four collections of poems, “Hide & Seek”, a collection of selected poems in English with the source text in Kannada 2014, Hiige Haaleya Maile Haadu” (Like this the song) 2007, “Kaada Navilina Hejje” (Footprints of The Wild Peacock) 1992 and “Nadiya Neerina Teva” (Dampness of the River) 1999 and four plays to her credit. Four plays, an anthology of column writing, a collection of critical essays in Kannada and English on gender, language, literature and culture and a book on Slovenian-Kannada Literature Interactions to her credit. She has translated poetry and prose into Kannada and English, collaborated with the translation activity in many Indian and foreign languages. Her poems are translated into many Indian languages including English apart from Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Galician, Maltese, Japanese, Chinese, Slovenian, Serbian, Russian, Cebuano and are published in those respective languages. She has conducted poetry workshops for two schools in Durban, South Africa(2005) and at Rangashankara Theatre festival 2007, Bangalore and a theatre workshop for young girls from economically backward communities in Hyderabad. Mamta has collaborated/performed in ‘MOTHERLAND’, with artists N.Pushpamala (India), ‘Emily Dickenson project’ with Jannet and Jennifer (Australia), and poets Marjorie Evasco (Philippines) and Que Mai (Vietnam). Mamta Sagar has toured with Mark Gwynne Jones in India and UK on ‘Melding Voices’, the UK Arts Council Funded projects.

Purdah, a play script in Urdu, evolved during this workshop was staged at AKKA’ National Theatre Festival for Women, Rangayana, Mysore, 2001. She has curated international poetry events in Hyderabad and Bangalore by inviting poets from Senegal, England, Malta, Germany and Slovenia. Poets from different Indian languages have participated in the national poetry events curated by Mamta.
KANASUGALU/DREAMS poetry and performance at the Basavanagudi Live Art Project curated by Dimple Shah, 7 May 2014. Presented poetry at the ‘MARMARA’ events organised by Vimochana, Forum for Women’s Rights, 15 April and 5 May 2014.
 Mamta Sagar’s poems are showcased in ‘Babelia En Galego’, an anthology of poems by seven poets edited and translated into Galician by Yolanda Castaño, Galicia. 2011 ‘Beyond Barriers, Slovenian-Kannada Literature Interactions, ed. and compiled by Mamta Sagar, Bangalore. 2011,

119 Web Streaming Poetry’ edited by Tzveta Sofronieva, Serbia. 2011 “Interior Decorations” 2010, Poetry magazine pick up issue of the WHO. Re-registration translation of selected poems by Xi Chuan, Biejing, China 2010,World Poetry almanac 2008”, ed. Hadaa Sendoo, Mangolia. 2008, Featured as Kannada Poet, Playwright and academic on ‘Poetry International’, website, 2009. “Growing Up As A Woman Writer”, ed. Jain, Jasbir. Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. 2007, “An Evening of Poetry”, Catalogue designed and produced as part of a multilingual poetry event curated in collaboration with Alliance Francaise Hyderabad and Book Section of the French Embassy in India, Hyderabad, India. Dec 2007. “Sexism and Language” in ‘Battleground: Women, Gender and Sexuality’ edited by Amy Lind. Greenwood Publishers, USA. 2007, ‘Agenda’, Empowering Women for Gender Equality, journal No. 69, September 2006 South Africa. Routes-‘Moving Worlds’ A Journal of Transcultural Writings, Vol 2, Issue One, 2002, University of Leeds-UK. South Asian Studies News Letter-IOWA, Spring 2002. ‘TOMAS’, The Literary Journal, published by Centre for Creative Writing and Studies, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines Issue 10, March 2006. SAMYUKTA- A Journal of Women Studies, Thiruvananthapuram. URDHVA MULA: An Inter-disciplinary Journal focusing on Women andRelated Issues, Mumbai. British Council’s Website on Women Writing, ‘Kerala Kavitha 2000’ edited by Dr. K. Ayyappa Panikkar, January 2000, Calicut. INDIAN LITERATURE, journal published by the Academy of Letters, New Delhi. Behind Closed Doors: Domestic Violence in India, Mumbai etc. carries her articles, poems in translations and her works of translation from Kannada literature and culture. As part of the Fifth Anniversary of the World Poetry Gala Celebrations, her poems in Kannada original along with translations in English were displayed at the Vancouver Public Library, (Central branch) 350 West Georgia, Vancouver, B.C. Canada, February 2006. Her poems in English translation is published in the anthology, “In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself - Volume 7” edited by Marlow Peerse Weaver and published by MW Enterprises, USA. Her poems in Kannada along with their translation in English is included in an anthology of Women of Color Poets edited by Nagueyalti Warren and published by The Africa World Press and were on display at the World Social Forum, Nairobi, Kenya 20-25, Jan 2007.

Translation Activity:
1.     South Indian Poetry Translation Workshop 2017 Keral Sahithya Academi and the Poetry Carnival Pattambi. SHORNUR, Kerala, 25 – 28 January, 2017.
2.     Poetry Translation Project of Goethe-Institut ‘Poets Translating Poets’. Workshop was held at Kerala and the festival readings/presentatons/performance were at Berlin, Mumbai and Chennai, 2016.
3.     Invited by the Literature Across Frontiers International Poetry Translation Workshop – Poetry Connections India 2015 in Hyderabad and International Poetry Translation Workshop at Shantiniketan Kolkata in 2013, Mamta Sagar’s poems were translated into Estonian, English, Bengali, Portuguese, German, French, Welsh and Frisian and the poet translated poems by poets from all these language cultures.
4.     'A River Poem’, English translation of her poem ‘Nadiyolage’ has been included in the textbook published by Cambridge University Press for primary school children in the UK. Her latest book ‘Hide & Seek’ is a collection of her poems in English translation with source text in Kannada
5.     Translated Emily Dickenson’s poem 870 into Kannada for the ‘Emily Dickenson Project Cont’, by Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley, 2011
6.     Translated SEEMANTHA’, short story in Kannada by Nagaveni into English for the British Council’s Website on Women Writing and SAMYUKTA- A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. III No. 2, Trivandrum, 2003
7.     Translated poems by Tirumalamba, first woman poet among the early modern Kannada writers into English.
8.     Translated poems by Slovenian poets Brane Mozetic and Veronika Dintinjana and Slovenian Short story writers Andrej Blatnik and Suzana Tratnik into Kannada for the book, ‘Slovenian-Kannada Literature Interactions’ edited by her for Centre for Slovenian Literature, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2011.
9.     At The International Poetry Translation Workshop - small and big languages, organised by Center for Slovenian Literature in collaboration with Literature Across Frontiers Slovenia 2010, Mamta has translated poems by poets from six languages: Antoine Cassar (Malta), Stanislav Lvovsky (Russia), Veronika Dintinjana (Slovenia), Yasuhiro Yotsumoto (Japan), Yolanda Castano (Spain, Galicia) and Xi Chuan (China); into Kannada, while her poems in Kannada were translated into all these languages.
10.  Translated many passages into Kannada for Tim Supples’s production of Shakespeare’s play ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’, 2008.              

11.  In collaboration with the poets, she has translated poems by Marjorie Evasco a poet from Philippines writing in Cebuano language, Gahston Saint Fluer (Haiti) and Amadou Lamine Saal (Senegal) writing in French, Alex Fleites Rodriguez and Domingo Alphanso (Cuba), Lina Zeron (Mexico), Francisco Ruiz Udiel (Nicaragua) writing in Spanish, Abdul Hadi Sadoun (Iraq) writing in Arabic, Elena Liliana Popescu (Romania), Aryan Kaganof (South Africa) and Tenzin Tsundu (Tibet) writing in English into Kannada.

12.  She has translated contemporary African and Francophonic poetry into Kannada language.
13.  She has collaborated with Nicola Verderame in translating her poems from Kannada into Italian.
14.  English translations of poems by contemporary women poets from Kannada are extensively used in her own articles and critical writings on gender.
15.  English and Kannada translations of poems by contemporary women poets from Hindi language are used in her own articles and critical writings.
16.  Translated poems from collection HODYA by Marathi poet Hemantha Jogalekar into Kannada.
17.  Translated the article, ‘What Do We Mean by Gender-based Censorship?’ into Kannada for a two day workshop for women writers on Gender and Censorship, held at Mysore during May 2000, a programme jointly organised by ASMITHA and Women’s World.
18.  Co-translated the Kannada play “MAHA CHAITRA” into Malayalam with Dr Chitra Panikkar, Published in ‘Kerala Kavitha 2000’ edited by Dr. K. Ayyappa Panikkar, January 2000, Calicut.
19.  She has translated many poetry, prose and critical writings from Kannada language into English.
20.  The translated poems are often used in ‘KAAVYA SANJE’, poetry performance/reading activity in public spaces curated by Mamta Sagar.
Mamta has conducted theatre and poetry workshops culminating with readings and productions for women, children and people from marginalised communities. She has conducted poetry workshops for two schools in Durban, South Africa (2005) and at Rangashankara Theatre festival 2007, Bangalore, NID (National Institute of Design) Bangalore and a theatre workshop for orphan children of the Deenbandhu Trust and young girls from economically backward communities in Hyderabad. Her poems are subscribed for textbooks from Jain University, Bangalore and University of Kerala. Some of her poems are composed with music by known musicians.
She is interviewed and included in the documentary, ‘Cultures of Resistance’ directed by Iara Lee. Her poetry and interviews are showcased in ‘Los Chicos de Mañana’ a documentary directed by Javier Monero for Flying cat Productions, Spain.  Mamta has scored songs for the Kannada film Nan Love Track (My Love Track) to be launched shortly.

Her doctoral work is in Comparative Literature from University of Hyderabad and the thesis is titled as “Gender, Patriarchy and Resistance: Contemporary Women’s Poetry in Kannada and Hindi (1980-2000)”. With a specialization in Comparative Literature, Gender Studies, Kannada Literature and Cultural Discourse, she has presented papers in important national and international seminars and conferences. Mamta is a recipient of the Charles Wallace India Trust Translation Fellowship 2014-15. Dr. Mamta G. Sagar teaches Academic and Creative Writing at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and lives in Bangalore, India.             
Links to audio, video and interviews:

“She is brilliant, isn’t she?”

Gulzaar on Mamta Sagar

Read Mamta's poems in Spanish @ la orilla de los pajaros


Mamta Sagar performing poetry with Ana Seferovic , musicians Igor Stangliczky and Marko Jevtić @ an event designed by musician/translator/poet Manja Ristic @ Gallery 12 Hub, Belgrade, Serbia... an event during poet in residency programme 2012.  


'Rain' and 'Rain Again'


'A Poem to Darkness'



Inside the river are
the sky, the cloud, and the cold sun.
In my hands’ bowl is the river.

If I throw up my hands,
the river spills in drops, scattering
sky, cloud, and sun all o’er me.

From my hands’ bowl, if I drink
the river, then within me,
the sun, the cloud, and the sky.

Tell me, who is in who?

Translated from Kannada
by Chitra Panikkar with the poet

Mamta Sagar's Poems and interviews:

El Financiero Kindle Poetry International                                               Caratula Revista Electronica

                                            Dogears interview:Publishing Next

                                        Poetry Africa in Muse India

Poetas Siglo XXI Antologia De Poesia


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  2. I am very fond of Urdu Poetry. It just bring back good memories.


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