Gender & Identity, Life

Ena Ganguly’s poetry will take you to another world entirely

Her brave, succinct poetry will touch your heartbreaks and desires.

With minimal words, Bengali American poet Enakshi “Ena” Ganguly can convey a sense of serenity and a gentle touch.

“I think most of us find inspiration from living, reading books, listening to music—somewhere in the middle of it all, we connect some dots and it looks like we put something together, all on our own,” Ganguly told me. “That realization is ours.”

Poetry is her outlet for voicing and, equally importantly, sharing that realization. “Some of us put it into art, music, a calculator—I (try to) put it into words,” she said.

Ganguly exquisitely melds love, lust and intimacy with culture, prayer and identity throughout her poems, in a voice at once unafraid and vulnerable.

She grew up in Patna, Bihar – a state in Eastern India, bordering on Nepal – but moved to Houston, Texas. Two years later, she returned to Bihar for a year and became socially aware of the cultural differences between her motherland and her adopted country.

Ganguly speaks Bengali, Hindi and English, but nearly all her writing is in English. Devoted followers might find the rare poem crop up in Hindi or Bengali on her Instagram, however.

“I think we crave poetry that gives us words for our daily experiences, our heartbreaks and desires, and when we find it in someone else’s mouth, we also find common ground,” she said. “For me, that is unifying and powerful!”

Her poems, she hopes, are “mirrors to the ones that read them.”

She began to post her work online to share her experiences and ensure that others are aware that they’re not alone in their struggles and questions.

Her family and close friends’ experiences are integral to shaping her poetry, Ganguly said.

“My life has given me poetry, but the experiences and struggles of my loved ones has also spoken to the humanity in me, has also compelled me to write.”

On matters surrounding the struggles of womanhood and sexism, she writes with surprising fierceness. To men against feminism, for instance, she writes simply, “Half of you is at war.”

Ganguly is rising quickly toward the ranks of influential poets like Nayyirah Waheed and Warsan Shire, whose work she finds “raw and overwhelming.”

For young women of color looking to follow in her footsteps, her advice is clear. “Your thoughts are poetry,” she writes in one verse. “You are already a poet.”