Two remarkable aspects about Roy’s poems is the control she maintains over the language and the structure of her work. Also, mention needs to be made of her clever metaphors. Who, after all, can get away with lines like ‘Imagination is a fixed deposit’? However, it is very difficult to find a Sumana Roy signature in her poetry. Her lines can be taut and short, elaborate and ponderous, meditative or expositional, but what they almost never do is turn tautological. Before her first major work of nonfiction How I Became a Tree was published by Aleph in 2017, her poetry was widely anthologized but never collected in one single volume. She was, as has been said about Arun Kolatkar, a famous poet without a poetry collection. Alongside poetry, Sumana has been a prolific essayist. Some of her finest essays are about life in North-Bengal, or more specifically the sleepy town of Siliguri, where she has lived and worked for most of her life. Sumana is currently in Norway on an international fellowship. The tradition of Indian poet-essayists writing in English is a little tradition with powerful exponents. Roy belongs with Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Amit Chaudhuri (whose work was the subject of her PhD) and Anjum Hasan among others, with poets who make prose sing. Before she became a writer, Roy was a student of literature.
After her schooling in Mahbert High School in Siliguri and PrattMemorial School in Kolkatta, she graduated from Siliguri College and went on