Godsong (Hardcover)

A Verse Translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, with Commentary

By Amit Majmudar

Knopf, 9781524733476, 256pp.

Publication Date: March 20, 2018

List Price: 25.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A fresh, strikingly immediate and elegant verse translation of the classic, with an introduction and helpful guides to each section, by the rising American poet.

Born in the United States into a secularized Hindu family, Amit Majmudar puzzled over the many religious traditions on offer, and found that the Bhagavad Gita had much to teach him with its "song of multiplicities." Chief among them is that "its own assertions aren't as important as the relationships between its characters . . . The Gita imagined a relationship in which the soul and God are equals"; it is, he believes, "the greatest poem of friendship . . . in any language." His verse translation captures the many tones and strategies Krishna uses with Arjuna--strict and berating, detached and philosophical, tender and personable. "Listening guides" to each section follow the main text, and expand in accessible terms on the text and what is happening between the lines. Godsong is an instant classic in the field, from a poet of skill, fine intellect, and--perhaps most important--devotion.

About the Author

AMIT MAJMUDAR is a diagnostic nuclear radiologist who lives in Westerville, Ohio, with his wife and three children. He is the author of three volumes of poetry, most recently Dothead. His first collection, 0°, 0°, was a finalist for the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award; his second, Heaven and Earth, was selected for the 2011 Donald Justice Prize. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Best of the Best American Poetry, and many other places, including the eleventh edition of The Norton Introduction to Literature. He blogs for the Kenyon Review and is also a critically acclaimed novelist.

Praise For Godsong: A Verse Translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, with Commentary

“Ravishing and faithful, marked by what Nabokov once called ‘the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.’ Majmudar has a gift for imagery . . . Godsong reveals how beautifully this 2,000-year-old book lends itself to the careful, loving work of translation.” —Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

“A well-crafted and exceptional translation of a spiritual and cultural masterpiece.” —Dave Pugl, Library Journal (starred review)

Praise from India:

“[Majmudar’s] commentaries, about karma and maya, the ethics of friendship and the changing nature of the self, and about the place of violence in our lives have made me think about myself in a new way.” —Sumana Roy, Hindustan Times (“Life-changing reads of 2018”)

“Remarkable . . . A new translation of a much-translated classic must bring something new to readers. Godsong does just that.” —Sayali Palekar, Scroll.In
“The philosophic text is made anew in the poet’s startling, fresh idiom.” —C. R. Sasikumar, The Indian Express
“Reaches for the text’s beauty as well as its spiritual meaning . . . [Majmudar’s] summaries are succinct, pointed, and useful [and] his translation resonates with much that has come before him, absorbing and reflecting the long and rich tradition of Gita translations.” —Arshia Sattar, India Today