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In the following are some links to any article/book reference regarding Jayanata Mahapatra and/or his works. However, we do not take any responsibility of the content published in these external sites. The nature and/or the copyright of these exterenal data sources are with their respective owners/copyright holders.

Article on the Poet's Bio

Wikipedia Article

Jayanta Mahapatra was born in Cuttack, India, and has spent most of his life in Orissa, where he lives. Raised among poor people, Mahapatra's life often portrays everyday events in contemporary India, and his work champions those who live in a world of hunger, greif, and injustice. He attended Ravenshaw College and the Science College at Patna before coming a sub-editor at the Eastern Times. In later years he lectured on physics and other scientific subjects throughout India, and as his poetry became more known, was invited to be a visiting writer at the then-famed University of Iowa International Writer's Program. For his books of poetry─ which include A Rain of Rites (1976), Waiting (1979), The False Start (1980), Relationship (1980), Dispossessed Nests (1986), and Selected Poems (1987)─he has won several awards: the Bisuva Milana Award for Poetry and the Jacob Glatstein Memorial Prize among them. He has also written books of poetry and juvenile works, and translated...

 Read the complete version at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayanta_Mahapatra


In conversation "Brutal landscape" by Gowri Ramnarayan
Interview published on The Hindu : Literary Review  Sunday, Oct 02, 2005

Your approach to time and space have changed through the years. Do you see this as a part of the creative process?

As a boy, when I thought I was the centre of the universe, I was proud to be an Indian. I saw the newborn nation as an indivisible entity. As a student in Patna University, hearing Mahatma Gandhi was to feel this unity. This encounter gave me the courage to face the world, its bitter truths, brought conviction to my poetry... Now regionalism has taken over completely. My space and time must reflect this splintering process.

Have you romanticised Gandhi?

Poetry itself is a romantic attitude. Otherwise I'd be doing what Gandhi did, what Mother Teresa did, fighting destitution and injustice in slums, villages. I sit in my house and write poems about what I see through the window. A safe option. … Read the complete version at:   http://www.hindu.com/lr/2005/10/02/stories/2005100200220100.htm

Jayanta Mahapatra – In Conversation With Sudeep Ghosh  [Muse India]
Interview published on Muse India

Jayanta Mahapatra is arguably the best known and the most widely published Indian poet in English. See his profile for more details. He talks to Sudeep Ghosh here.
Sudeep Ghosh (SG): How does a poem come into being?
Jayanta Mahapatra (JM): It’s hard for me to say how a poem comes into being. Probably in the making of the poem is its mystery. Yes, isn’t it strange that from a passing scene, or a phrase heard somewhere, or a line that comes from nowhere, that the poem forms into a distinctive shape?
SG: When the creative imagination catches fire, it only sputters with flame and dies out. How does a poet arrest this ‘fire’ and put it to his creative advantage?
JM: Once again, that is a difficult question to answer
Read the complete version at:  http://www.museindia.com/showconnew.asp?id=459

Poem Links

 A Brief Orissa Winter 
[Kenyon Review, Summer/Fall 2003 Special Issue: "Culture & Place" New Series · Volume XXV Number 3/4]

A puddle of fire by the roadside.
Warming hands of passersby.
Elsewhere, a schoolgirl gets ready for class,
flapping her wings like a bird
about to take flight.
Both people who live one or a hundred lives
rinse their bodies with the cool winter air.
Read the complete version at:  http://www.kenyonreview.org/issues/sf03/mahapatra.php


At times, as I watch, it seems as though my country’s body
floats down somewhere on the river.
Left alone, I grow into
a half-disembodied bamboo

Read the complete version at:   http://www.littlemag.com/hunger/jayanta.html

Poems published on The New Yorker

Jayanta Mahapatra, Poetry, “A Gray Haze Over the Rice Fields,” The New Yorker, May 26, 2003, p. 88
Read the complete version at:   http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=2003-05-26#folio=088

Jayanta Mahapatra, Poetry, “More in Dreams Than in the Flesh,” The New Yorker, November 20, 2006, p. 68
Read the complete version at:   http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=2006-11-20#folio=068

"The Quest"
Poem  published on The World Literature Today Sunday, March 18, 2001

Under the rain, beyond the walls,
I search for the lost inhabitants of my country.
Gleaming skulls of people I do not know,
those who had died a violent death
at the hands of a God with noiseless thunderstorms.
It has become a ritual, this search
for history in which dignity neither comes nor goes.
I wonder why they continue to suffer, and why
this private unhappiness of mine
demands a certain quality in the people I like.
The sadness of crows flutters down into the light.
The rain comes nearer. A tiger of jaws.
Yearly floods turn into a genuine poetic achieve¬
Weary steel plants keep on going through the night.
Even computers begin to understand our castes and
The voluptuous figures of women in stone
only wish to save our feelings of love and freedom;
they are like old men who do not need their voices,
they have pulled them out of their throats
and hidden them away in their past.
I look into your eyes, trying to think
of newspaper headlines raising their hands
in a gesture expressing their inability to help.
The vicious assault on another young girl
progresses handsomely, breathlessly, without hope.
God still looks at me, his silence deep and famous,
the gaze of modesty touching earth and sky.
Searching for things in this land of rain,
I have really no intention of meeting inhabitants
And God? Do I have the need to create
another self whose laughter smothers my fears
Read the complete version at:   http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=J7wJnTCQz3vGG2TDW11qnVQbmHb2hyJyhJrWvRJnryp69nvKGybR!14634681!340113200?docId=9570508

Articles, Reviews & Press Stories

"Mahapatra's songs of the soil" by Aditi De
Review of poet's book Random Descent ( Third Eye Communications, 2005) published on The Hindu Sunday, Jan 29, 2006

JAYANTA MAHAPATRA'S poetry soars above the Oriya soil he is rooted in. Its flights take wing as his personal concerns meld into public issues, as family history underlines universal angst, through images that are sudden and stunning in their impact. No matter, then, that his international reputation has been compared to that of Wordsworth.
While Random Descent, (based on a Sylvia Plath phrase) enhances Mahapatra's literary standing, his reputation deserves a much more individual reckoning. For he emerges as an essential son of the soil, where he taught physics for long years until he took to poetic expression at 40. Maturity steeps his …
Read the complete version at:   http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mag/2006/01/29/stories/2006012900110300.htm

"Hedging the heart"
Article published on The Hindu  Sunday, March 18, 2001

To what is the poet responsible? Can poetry involve itself with politics? Or is it an autonomous, aesthetic object? While there can be no hard-and-fast rules, poetry that ignores the historical relationship between the self and society becomes lifeless. So too is a poet who only sees the reality around him, says noted poet JAYANTA MAHAPATRA. A QUESTION I should like to ask myself today is: If poetry makes us more conscious of the essence of our day-to-day existence, of life's complexities and meaning, does it have …
Read the complete version at:   http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/03/18/stories/1318067e.htm

"Of the Lowly Potato: Indian English Poetry Today" by Jayanta Mahapatra
Article by the poet published on The Daily Star 

Sometimes, poets are instructive to read on poetry and poets--not only does one get the critical analysis, but also a privileged peek at how artists view their own art. A two-in-one, as it were. Which is the reason behind this reprint of Jayanta Mahapatra's essay published in 2001 in Rama Nair's (ed.) Trends and Techniques in Contemporary Indian English Poetry. It is interesting for its overview of the field by a major Indian poet writing in English. Jayanta Mahapatra was born in Cuttack in 1928, was educated there and in Patna. A teacher of physics, he started writing poetry in his late thirties and has published a dozen books,winning, among others, the Sahitya Akedemi prize and the Jacob Glatstein (Chicago) prize for poetry. He has regularly written essays on poetry and has extensively translated contemporary writing from Oriya into English. The essay here is definitely not the last word on the subject--the debate will rage on--but it is the product of much meditation and is at heart an old-fashioned argument about a return to roots: Roots of poetic inspiration, of the primacy of the creative act, of an older view of the artist and spirituality …
Read the complete version at:   http://www.thedailystar.net/2004/01/10/d40110210288.htm

"The best is still to come "
Article published on The Hindu  Sunday, July 02, 2000

While poetry magazine Chandrabhaga's phoenix-like rising from the ashes is cause for celebration, it is difficult to tell whether a serious literary magazine, and one dedicated to Indian writing, can survive again in a world of changing values. Recording her impressions of the first edition, SHANTA ACHARYA says in the final analysis, it is the range of thoughts expressed that should make us contemplate the gift of words in our lives and encourage the publication to fare forward …
Read the complete version at:   http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/03/18/stories/1318067e.htm

"Suffering from our poetry by Jayanata mahapatra "
Article published on The Hindu : Literary Review  Sunday, August 03, 2003

THE Hungarian composer Bela Bartok once wrote in a letter to a friend: "I have lost confidence in people, in countries, in everything." This was in 1941, when the Second World War was at its height. Today, 60 years after he said this, the truth of these words cannot be denied. I suppose one cannot be both tragic and human at the same time, especially in times of crisis such as war or revolution or terrorism; and each is an event of utmost misfortune for us. These are moments when the illogical becomes the logical, and a victory turns to loss …
Read the complete version at:   http://www.hinduonnet.com/lr/2003/08/03/stories/2003080300020100.htm

"Ministrel of the Streets -- The poet feels emotions matter more than craft" by Devika Mehra
Article published on The India Today  September 22, 1997

Jayanta Mahapatra is what you would expect a poet to be -- shy, pensive, measuring his words as if he were about to share a secret. Mahapatra began his career in a rather unlikely way. He spent much of his early life unravelling the mysteries of physics but he always felt …
Read the complete version at:   http://www.india-today.com/itoday/22091997/book2.html

Events Coverage

" "
Article published on The Frontline,  Volume 21 - Issue 18, Aug. 28 - Sep. 10, 2004

Poet Jayanta Mahapatra began by saying that he came from Orissa, a region "not as poor as Ethiopia, but quite poor". His soft-spoken verse evoked trauma and grief too deep for tears…
Read the complete version at:   http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2118/stories/20040910001508300.htm

Write is right
Article published on The Hindu,   Monday, Aug 09, 2004

Jayanta Mahapatra who held the audience spellbound with his exquisitely evocative lines (The weight of the unknown buries me), smiled gently as he said, "I am just a writer. I am enjoying myself meeting friends, meeting people I have known for many years. It is wonderful to share thoughts." …
Read the complete version at:   http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mp/2004/08/09/stories/2004080901400100.htm

Books on the Poet

The Poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra: A Critical Study
by Rabindra K. Swain

Publisher: Prestige, New Delhi
ISBN-13: 9788175510852
ISBN: 8175510854

Jayanta Mahapatra is one of the foremost poets writing in English today. The present book makes a pioneering attempt to trace the socio-cultural forces that have gone into the shaping of the poet`s language and vision.


The Poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra
by Bijay Kumar Das

The Poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra is an incisive and well researched book. It makes an in-depth study of the poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra from Close the Sky Ten by Ten to Shadow Space. Various aspects of his poetry ranging from thematic study to technical accomplishment have been discussed here with insight and precision. The concluding chapter seeks to evaluate Mahapatra as a Modernist, Post-Modernist and finally, a Post-Colonial poet. This is an invaluable book on Mahapatra s poetry.


The Poetry Of Jayanta Mahapatra: Imagery And Vision
by N. Das

This book tries to find an explanation to Jayanta's poetry through the imagery and vision used in them.




If you have a very good article about Jayanta Mahapatra online and would like to add it in this list then send your article / critical link to the address specified in the contact section of this site.


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.