Last Sunday afternoon, on 14 November, Eindhoven Library hosted a book presentation event for Chaitali Sengupta’s debut collection of prose poems, “Cross-Stitched Words.”
The event took place with a limited number of visitors.
“Cross-Stitched Words” is Chaitali’s first book as a solo author. It came out in February 2021 and is published by the US-based publication house SETU. The book contains 45 prose poems, written in free verse, and tries to connect and engage the inner life of our hearts, through words, through poetry. Before this book, she had translated two books into English from Bengali, her mother tongue.
The event was attended by Kavitha Varathan, CEO Expat Spouses Initiative, Milagros Maldonado, President Latin American group in Eindhoven, Heidi Los, Expat partner career coach, Willy Ickenroth, director Summa College Engineering and Laboratorium, and Kirtika van Hunen, cross-cultural trainer and author, among a limited number of other guests.
Carola Eijsenring, the Dutch poet, and performance artist performed three of the poems from Chaitali’s book, combining it with one of her own poetry-music compositions. She was accompanied by two musicians from her Burning Blood group. The event was beautifully hosted by Karishma Vij, radio producer and presenter at Radio4Brainport, the Expat Station. In the book presentation event, Chaitali spoke about her poetry collection, the various reviews that the book has already received, and about her literary journey as an international in Eindhoven. She also took a few questions from the audience.
Besides being an author, Chaitali is a regular translator (volunteer) at Eindhoven News, translating news for the Expats every week. She is also associated with a few other social work organisations in her role as a (volunteer) translator. In her small language institute, she gives online Inburgering (Civic Integration) lessons to mostly Indian knowledge migrants.
“I’m focused on helping them connect to this society. When you migrate to a different country, finding one’s path in an unfamiliar country is not always easy. Language is a barrier. And knowing the culture where you are in is very important. So my focus now is to help them with my experience, by teaching them basic Dutch, and telling them a bit about the culture,” she said in answer to a question. “But I’m also busy with some literary translations. The challenging one is translating the classic Dutch author Louis Couperus’s work into English.”
Miriam Frosi, city councilor CDA, who attended the event said, “It is a nice book, I suggest everyone read it slowly, like little drops that refresh our souls. It was a wonderful presentation and a well-organised event, thanks to Eindhoven Library. Chaitali is a great author, a wonderful international from India, but also a real ‘Eindhovenaar’ who helps with the internationalisation of Eindhoven.”