Jayanta Mahapatra, one of India’s best known English poets, passed away at the age of 95. The legendary poet has left an imprint in the Indian English poetry with his writings spanning over 50 years. He was born in Cuttack, Odisha, India, in 22 october 1928. He studied at the Ravenshaw College in Cuttack and the University of Delhi. After graduating, he worked as a teacher and journalist.
Mr. Mahapatra, a physics teacher, fell in love with English poetry in his late 30s. After publishing of his first collection ‘Swayamvara and Other Poems’ in 1971, he never looked back. His poetries ‘Close the Sky Ten by Ten’ catapulted him to the top league of writers.
Awards and Recogination
In 1981 Jayanta Mahapatra won Sahitya Akademi award for his poetry book Relationships. He became the first ever writer in English language to win Sahitya Akademi award. He is also a recipient of the Jacob Glatstein memorial award conferred by Poetry magazine, Chicago. He was also awarded the Allen Tate Poetry Prize for 2009 from The Sewanee Review. He received the SAARC Literary Award, New Delhi, 2009. He has also received Tata Literature Lifetime Achievement Award. He was conferred with a Padma Shri in 2009 and awarded an honorary doctorate by Ravenshaw University on 2 May 2009. He was also awarded a D. Lit. degree by Utkal University, Odisha in 2006. In May 2019 he became the first ever Indian English poet to become a Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi.