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Brief Sketches of Poets from India

Note: This list is neither exhaustive, nor in any particular order. Your suggestions are welcome. In case you know of any relevant homepage/web-site on Indian poets writing in English, let me know.

Jayanta Mahapatra Shiv K. Kumar Agha Shahid Ali Bibhu Prasad Padhi Sanjiv Bhatla
Gieve Patel Arvind Krishna Mehrotra Arvind Passey Nissim Ezekiel Kamala Das
Dilip Chitre Adil Jussawalla M F Hussain Mrinalini Sarabhai Pritish Nandy
Rakshat Puri Imtiaz Dharker Keki N Daruwalla A K Ramanujan Vikram Seth
Rose Sujata Arora        
Others...


Jayanta Mahapatra
b. 1928 in Cuttak
Works include Close the Sky, Ten by Ten (1971), Svayamvara and Other Poems (1971), Countermeasures (1973), Temple (1989)....
He was awarded the Jacob Glatstein Memorial Prize for Poetry (Chicago) in 1975. During 1976-77, he was a member of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program.
A quote from him: "What appears to disturb me is the triumph of silence in the mind: and if these poems are inventions, they are also longings amid the flow of voices toward a need that I feel is defensive. A poem makes me see out of it in all directions, like a sieve, and I am almost relieved at that all-important thought."


Shiv K. Kumar

b. 1821 in Lahore
Works include Articulate Silences (1970), Cobwebs in the Sun (1971), The Last Wedding Anniversary (1975), The Bone's Prayer (1979), ...
In 1978, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature during his stay in England as a Commonwealth Visiting Professor of English at the University of Kent at Canterbury.
A quote from him: "In view of my extensive travelling in the West, I seem to be constantly returning to the theme of cultural interaction. I feel, unconsciously, I guess, that with me contrast is almost a mode of perception. it is this awareness that compels me to recapture my days in New York as a kind of life-in-death."

Agha Shahid Ali

He belongs to Kashmir and spent most of his formative years travelling. After having spent some years teaching English in a college at Delhi, he has been in the US on various teaching assignments.
His first book of poems was Bone Sculptures.

Bibhu Prasad Padhi

b. 1951 in Cuttak
Has been teaching at the Ravenshaw College, Bhubaneshwar.He has had a lot of his poems published in India and abroad...his poems were first published in Dialogue India, the poetry magazine from Calcutta, edited by Pritish Nandy from 1969 till 1975. This magazine also published Jayanta mahapatra and Deba Patnaik for the first time in the early seventies.

Sanjiv Bhatla

b. 1953 in Bombay
He is an engineer by qualification and has done a fair amount of freelance technical document writing. His poems have been published in many journals and magazines. He is also the editor of Poetry Chronicle -- the poetry journal published by The Society for the Promotion of Poetry, PO Box 1615, GPO, Bombay 400001, India.

Gieve Patel

b. 1940 in Bombay
He had his training in medicine from the Grant Medical College, Bombay. Besides working as a GP, he has given poetry the resuscitation it always needs.
His works include Poems (1966), How Do You Withstand, Body (1976), ...
A quote from him says: "...if a poem is clear, well thought out, purposive, logical and true, it will have changed something...first, in the poet himself...because if this does not happen...there is no poem."

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

b. 1947 in Lahore
He was educated at the Universities of Allahabad and Bombay and has been teaching English Literature at the University of Allahabad.
His works include BharatMata: A Prayer (1966), Woodcuts on Paper (1967), Pomes|Poems|Poemas (1971), Three (1973),...
According to him, a poem has"games, riddles and accidents...and the poet creates as many accidents as he can."

Arvind Passey

b. 1957 in Gwalior
He has had his education at the Bundelkhund University, Punjabi University, Delhi University, IGNOU, and the Shankar's Academy of Art and Book Publishing.
His poems have been published in India and in a few poetry journals in the UK. Some of his poems have been broadcast on the AIR -- Overseas Services. One of his ambitions is to give his voice to at least some of the poems written by Indian poets.
To know more about him, click here.
To read his poems, click here.

Nissim Ezekiel

b. 1924 in Bombay
Had his education in Bombay and Birbeck College, London. Taught at the Bombay University, was a visiting Professor at Leeds University in 1964, and in 1975 went as a Cultural Award Visitor to Australia.
His works include A Time To Change (1952), Sixty Poems (1953), The Third (1959), The Unfinished Man (1960), The Exact Name (1965),...
A quote from him: "What the poet knows makes the poem what it is, if the poet's knowledge is alive and his art fully extended while he writes the poem."

Kamala Das

b. 1934 in Punnayurkulam in Southern Malabar
She was educated mainly at home and spent most of her years in Bombay. The tone of her writing is distinctly feminine.
Her works include Summer in Calcutta (1965), The Descendants (1967), The Old Playhouse and Other Poems (1973), ...

Dilip Chitre

b. 1938 in Baroda
He is a poet who has learnt from the number of jobs he has had ... teacher, journalist, sales promotion executive, advertising executive, magazine columnist...he writes ...he translates...he paints....
His first collection of poems in Marathi appeared in 1960.

Adil Jussawalla

b. 1940
He had his schooling in Bombay and then between 1957 and 1970 his years were spent in England, where he studied to be an architect ... left his studies to write plays ... read English at Oxford...
His works include Land's End, Missing Person...

M F Hussain

b. 1915 in Paharpur
The famous Indian painter whose Saraswati was burnt by rioters. Also known as Madhuri Fida Hussain because of the series of paintings he did on Madhur Dixit, the actress.
His visual experiments with poetry have been published in his book Poems To be Seen.

Mrinalini Sarabhai

She is known more as a distinguished classical dancer. She has written poetry too. One of her books Longing For The Beloved interprets the songs of Shiva as related to Bharat Natyam.

Pritish Nandy

b. 1947 in Calcutta
Poet, photographer, and graphic artist, he is the auther of more than three dozen books of poetry, photography, and translation. His poems are also available on audio.

Rakshat Puri

b. 1925 in Lahore
In the fifties he came to journalism and from 1956 to 1861 was correspondent at New Delhi for The New Statesman of London.
His poetry has appeared in several anthologies and journals, and he has had his initial books on poetry published from Calcutta.

Imtiaz Dharker

...is an MA in English and Philosophy from Glasgow University, spent several years abroad before settling down in Bombay...has been the poetry editor for Debonair...her work has appeared in several magazines, journals, anthologies...

Keki N Daruwalla

b. 1937 in Lahore
His education was at Ludhiana. Daruwalla has been praised for his bitter, satiric tone, which is rather exceptional in Indian verse in English.
His works include Under Orion (1970), Apparition in April (1971), Crossing of Rivers (1976), Swords and Abyss (1979),...
A quote from him: "Writing a poem is like a clot going out of the blood."

A K Ramanujan

b. 1929 in Mysore
Attipat Krishnaswamy Ramanujan had a brilliant academic career ... a Fulbright Scholar at indiana University in 1960-62...
His works include Fifteen Tamil Poems (1965), The Striders (1966), The Interior Landscape (1967), No Lotus in the Navel (1969), Relations (1971), Speaking of Siva (1972), ...

Vikram Seth

b. 1952
He studied at Oxford, Stanford, and Nanjing Universities, and spent two years in China doing research into economic demography.
His works include The Humble Administrator's Garden, The Golden Gate, All You Who Sleep Tonight, Three Chinese Poets,...


Rose Sujata Arora

b. 1969 in New Delhi
Her poems have been widely published in India and the UK. Persephone Quartets (Published by Muddyman Press. ISBN 90-9013269-4) is her first collection, inspired by her childhood in India & her close emotional bond with the city of Leiden in The Netherlands where she lives.



These are not all the poets that India has. There would be thousands -- if you take into account the regional languages...and they are all read, appreciated, quoted by the local population. There are others who happen to write in English or who have had their works translated into English. A short concise list is given:

Arun Kolatkar, R Parthasarthy, Smita Aggarwal, Ranjit Hoskote, Vijay Nambisan, C P Surendran, Sudeep Sen, Srikant Verma, Jayanthi Sundram, C Raju, Neelmani Bhatia, Vinayan Bhaskaran, Rajlakshmi Debee Bhattacharya, Ruth Vanita, Meera Nair, Vivek Khadpekar, Tarun Cherian, Shampa Sinha, Oby Nagar, Anju Makhija, K Ramesh, Rufus Daniel, P M Warrier, Vatsala Kaul, Sujata Bhatt, Rumki Basu, Tabish Khair, Gopi Krishnan Kottoor, Tanya Lobo, Revathy Gopal, Falguni Datta, George Zachariah, Naval B Ghiara, Prathiba Bhatt, Dom Moraes, P Lal, ....

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