Jayanta Mahapatra
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District:
Category : Literature
Born : 1928
Died :
Details : Jayanta Mahapatra (born 1928) is one of the best known Indian English poets. He is the first ever Indian poet to win Sahitya Akademi award for English poetry. He is the author of such popular poems as Indian Summer and Hunger, which are regarded as classics in modern Indian English lieterature. He is also a winner of Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in India.

Besides being one of the popular Indian poets of his generation, Mahapatra was also part of the trio of poets who laid the foundations of Indian English Poetry. He shared a special bond with A. K. Ramanujan, one of the finest poets in the IEP tradition. Mahapatra is also different in not being a product of the Bombay school of poets besides R. Parthasarathy. Over time, he has managed to carve a quiet, tranquail poetic voice of his own—distinctly different from those of his contemporaries. His wordy lyricism combined with ntic Indian themes put him in a league of his own.

All his working life, he taught physics at various colleges in Odisha including Gangadhar Meher College, Sambalpur, B.J.B College, Bhubaneswar, Fakir Mohan College, Balasore and Ravenshaw College, Cuttack. He retired in 1986. Mahapatra has authored 27 books of poems, of which seven are in Oriya and the rest in English. His poetry volumes include Relationship, Bare Face and Shadow Space. Mahapatra is a Sahitya Akademi awardee, and also a recipient of the Jacob Glatstein award conferred by Poetry magazine, Chicago. He was also awarded the Allen Tate Poetry Prize for 2009 from The Sewanee Review, Sewanee, USA. He received the SAARC Literary Award, New Delhi, 2009. Besides poetry, he has experimented widely with myriad forms of prose. His published books of prose are Green Gardener, an anthology of short stories and Door of Paper: Essay and Memoirs. Mahapatra is also a distinguished editor and has been bringing out, for many years, a literary magazine, Chandrabhaga, from Cuttack. The magazine is named after Chandrabhaga, a prominent river in Orissa.

He began writing writing poetry when he was into his 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. One of Mahapatra's better remembered works is the long poem Relationship, for which he the first Indian English poet to win the Sahitya Akademi award in 1981. He was conferred the Padma Shri in 2009 by the president of India and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Ravenshaw University on 2 May 2009. He was also awarded Litt. D. degree by Utkal University in 2006.


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