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The Poet:

Jayanta Mahapatra, born on 22 October 1928 in Cuttack ( India ), belongs to a lower middle-class family. He had his early education at Stewart school, Cuttack . After a first class Master's Degree in Physics, he joined as a teacher in 1949 and served in different Government colleges of Orissa.

All his working life, he taught physics at different colleges in Orissa. He retired in 1986. Mahapatra has authored 18 books of poems. He started writing poetry at the age of thirty-eight, quite late by normal standards. Mahapatra's tryst with the muse came rather late in life. He published his first poems in his early 40s. The publication of his first book of poems, Svayamvara and Other Poems, in 1971 was followed by the publication of Close the Sky, Ten By Ten.

His collections of poems include A Rain of Rites, Life Signs and A Whiteness of Bone. One of Mahapatra's better remembered works is the long poem Relationship, for which he won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1981. He is the first Indian English Poet to receive the honor. Besides being one of the most popular Indian poets of his generation, Mahapatra was also part of the trio of poets who laid the foundations of modern Indian English Poetry. He shared a special bond with A. K. Ramanujan, one the finest poets in the IEP tradition. Mahapatra is also different in not being a product of the Bombay school of poets. Over time, he has managed to carve a quiet, tranquil poetic voice of his own--distinctly different from those of his contemporaries. His wordy lyricism combined with authentic Indian themes puts him in a league of his own.

His recent poetry volumes include Shadow Space, Bare Face and Random Descent. Besides poetry, he has experimented widely with myriad forms of prose. His lone published book of prose remains The Green Gardener, a collection of short stories. A distinguished editor, Jayanta Mahapatrahas been bringing out, for many years, a literary magazine, Chandrabhaga , from Cuttack . The magazine is named after Chandrabhaga, a prominent but dried-up river in Orissa.


His Vision of Poetry:

“To Orissa, to this land in which my roots lie and lies my past and in which lies my beginning and my end..."  declared the poet in his Award-receiving speech at the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi

The clue to understand Mahapatra’s poetry is given by the poet himself:

“My poems deal with the life within myself where the mind tries to find a sort of coherence from the mass of
things in the world outside it.”
(quoted in Sunday Observer, May 27th, 1984)



In the following is a scanned version of the poet's auto biography published in Contemporary Authors-
Autobiography Series (published by Gale Research, Detroit ), Vol. 9

List of Awards


                                               Second Prize     International Who’s Who in Poetry, London, 1970.

                Jacob Glatstein Memorial Award     Poetry, Chicago, 1975.

                                             Visiting Writer     International Writing Program, Iowa City 1976-77.

                                                                          Cultural Award Visitor, Australia, 1978.

                                        Japan Foundation     Visitor’s Award, Japan, 1980.

                            Sahitya Academy Award     National Academy of Letters, New Delhi, 1981.

                                                 Invited Poet     Asian Poets Conference, Tokyo, Japan, 1984.

                                                                          Indo-Soviet Cultural Exchange Writer, USSR, 1985.

                                           Resident Writer     Centro Culturale della Fondazione Rockefeller, Bellagio, Italy, 1986.

                                                 Invited Poet     University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 1988.

                                                                          Singapore Festival of Arts, Singapore. 1988.

                                                                          New Literatures in English Conference, Justus-Liebig-Universitat, Giessen,

                                                                                                                                                    West Germany, 1989

                                                                          ACLALS Silver Jubilee Conference, Canterbury, England, 1989.

                                                     First Prize     Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, 1990.

                                                 Invited Poet     Poetry International, The South Bank Centre, London, England, 1992.

                                                                          Cuirt International Poetry Festival, Galway, Ireland, 1992.

                                                                          EI Consejo Nacional Para la Cultura y las Artes, Mexico. 1994

                                                                          Mingei International Museum of World Folk Art, La Jolla, USA. 1994.

                          Gangadhar National Award     For Poetry, Sambalpur University, 1994

                                   Ramakrishna Jaidayal     Harmony Award, 1994, New Delhi.

                Vaikom Mohammad Basheer Chair    Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, 1996-97.

                                                 Invited Poet     ACLALS Conference, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 1998.

                         Awarded Honorary Degree     Doctor of Literature, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, 2006.

                                                 Invited Poet     Weltklang Poetry Festival, Berlin, Germany, 2006.

                                            Bishuva Award     Prajatantra Prachara Samiti, Cuttack, 2007.

                                   Padma Shree Award     India’s Padma Shree Award, 2009.

                                      Allen Tate Award       Sewanee Review, University of South, 2009.





List of Poetry Readings


                              outside India

                                                       University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1976

                                                       University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, 1976

                                                       University of the South, Sewanee, 1976

                                                       East West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1976

                                                       Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide, 1978

                                                       P.E.N. Centre, Sydney, 1978

                                                       Australian National University, Canberra, 1978

                                                       International Poets Conference, Tokyo, 1980

                                                       Asian Poets Conference, Tokyo, 1984

                                                       Aoyama University, Tokyo, 1984

                                                       Sapporo University, Sapporo, 1984

                                                       Writers Union, Moscow, Leningrad & Lvov, USSR, 1985

                                                       Singapore Festival of Arts, Singapore, 1988

                                                       Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur, 1988

                                                       University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 1988

                                                       Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, 1988

                                                       University of the Philippines, Manila City, 1988

                                                       Museong Kalinangang Pilipino, Manila, 1988

                                                       Irish Writers Centre, Dublin, Ireland, 1992

                                                       Sligo Arts Centre, The Grammar School, Sligo, 1992

                                                       The Guild Hall, Derry, 1992

                                                       WEA, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Hexham and Durham, 1992

                                                       The South Bank Centre, London, 1992

                                                       Universities of Hull and Leeds (UK), 1992

                                                       The Naropa Institute, Boulder,Colorado, 1994

                                                       Instituto de Cultura de Campeche, Mexico, 1994

                                                       Instituto de Cultura de Puebla, Mexico,1994

                                                       Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, USA, 1995

                                                       Hunter College, New York, USA, 1995

                                                       University of the South, Sewanee, USA, 1995

                                                       Writers Forum, De Kalb College, Atlanta, USA, 1995

                                                       Writers Forum, St. Andrews College, Laurinburg, USA, 1995

                                                       British Council, Kandy, 1998

                                                       Indian Cultural Centre, Colombo, 1998


                                      in India     Andhra University, University of Jadavpur, Calcutta University, University

                                                       of Delhi, Osmania University, The Poetry Centre, Hyderabad,
Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, North East Hill University, Shillong, Tezpur University, IIT Guwahati, India International Centre, New Delhi, Bharat

                                                       Bhavan, Bhopal, University of Lucknow, DAV College, Kanpur,
Arts, Science & Commerce College, Durg, among other places.



List of Visiting Fellow at
                                                     University of Kolhapur
                                                     University of Bombay
                                                     University of Hyderabad 
List of Bibliography in

                                                       Contemporary Poets, London. St. James Press,1985, 1991 (4th & 5th editions).

                                                       World Authors: 1980-85, New York. H.W.Wilson Company, 1991

                                                       The International Authors and Writers Who’s Who, Cambridge.

                                                       International Biographical Centre, 1991

                                                       Contemporary Authors, Detroit. Gale Research Company, 1995
Dictionary of Literary Biography 323, Columbia, SC.
Bruccoli Clark Layman, Inc., 2006

List of Publications


                               in USA      Boundary 2

                                                       Chicago Review

                                                       The Georgia Review       
The Hudson Review

                                                       The Kenyon Review

                                                       New England Review

                                                       The New Republic

                                                       New York Quarterly

                                                       The New Yorker

                                                       Poetry (Chicago)

                                                       Poetry International

                                                       The Sewanee Review



                                                       World Literature Today


                                         in UK      Ambit

                                                      Critical Quarterly

                                                      Other Poetry

                                                      The Poetry Review

                                                      The Times Literary Supplement

                                       and other journals in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and Mexico.




The Lie of Dawns: Poems 1974 - 2008
ISBN 978-81-9273-474-9
Authorspress,  E-35/103, Jawahar Park Laxmi Nagar, Delhi 110 092
Email: authorspress@yahoo.com
Pages 197,
Price: Rs 350   USD 15
ISBN 978-81-9273-474-9
Year of Publication 2009

"a powerful haunting image of the world made and remade through the ordinary instinct" -- Journal of Commonwealth Literature

In this comprehensive volume, Jayanta mahapatra, who has been called the "finest multicultural poet writing in India" brings his own choice of the finest poems he has written over past thirty five years. A revelatory selection for readers who are familiar with his work, and for readers who are coming upon his impressive poetic acheivement for the first time.