Dr. Nitoo Das

Professor of Literature | Poet

Dr. Nitoo Das

Professor of Literature | Poet

Nitoo Das is a bird photographer and poet. She has published three collections of poetry: Boki (2008), Cyborg Proverbs (2017), and Crowbite (2020). Her work has appeared in several anthologies and journals like Poetry International Web, Pratilipi, Muse India, Eclectica, North East Review, Poetry with Prakriti, Vayavya, Poetry at Sangam, Uncanny Magazine, Almost Island, Diaphanes, The Indian Quarterly, etc. Her interests include fractals, horror films, and translation from Assamese to English. Das teaches at Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi.

Referenced Content

Boki by Nitoo Das

Boki.. A word that means nothing in English, but when you come to the poem that it’s in – well, there it stands for a shouted syllable, a deconstruction of someone’s name — someone who “went around / with scowling hair, // her long betel-spittled / lips exploding sex-words” while “She sat in street-corners / and exposed glistening secrets / like roots with / shifty-eyed knowledge.” A “nonsense” word that brings so much from its two syllables, is surely what poetry is about. The creation of image from sound. “To bok” in Assamese means to mutter/speak meaninglessly and repetitively. The Sanskrit word, Vak, from which this irreverent Assamese derivative takes its origins, means Speech. And Nitoo Das’s Boki speaks in an explosion of images in which she demonstrates an uncanny ability to create poems that surprise us, hold us, move us to see things in new ways. “A poem / laughs / when you tell it to sit.” These poems not only laugh but insist on dancing. They taste “lush and orange” on the tongue like Disco-Papita, and they will leave you turning the pages for more.

Cyborg Proverbs by Nitoo Das

Das’ poetry more than delivers on the promise made in the penultimate lines of her titular Cyborg Proverbs, offering its reader the gift of penetrating (in)sight through thoughts “as precise as suspicion”. Her syllables breathe aloud, like hushes that unassumingly gasp in the gaps between echoes, in the interstitial moments of alighting bird wings, or roots that braid the air, or the slipperiness of netted fish, and the gush of rain as it nestles its way into the crevices of walls and swells its way through its parasitical, residential act.

Das exquisitely reimagines syntax and her frequently anthropomorphic poems shape-shift upon each ensuing page, making Cyborg Proverbs an enviable feat, aided in no small measure by her studied, patient, bird-watcher gaze and her unspeakable lust for articulating the tacitly sensual.

Crowbite by Nitoo Das

Crowbite is the collection from birder, bird photographer, and poet Nitoo Das, after Boki (VAC, 2008) and Cyborg Proverbs (Poetrywala, 2017). The poet says, “Most of the poems in this collection were written in a daze in April 2014. While putting together this manuscript, I chose the sequence I wrote that month because they represent “home” to me. Crowbite is about home.

Referenced Content: BirdBlur Series