Five popular faces in Contemporary Indian English Poetry
Despite the excitement around novels and films, the number of youths getting involved in reading and writing poetry in India and abroad has increased significantly. Over the past few years, few Anglophone Indian poets not only gained admiration in the country but around the world. Five Indian poets Akhil Katyal, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Tishani Doshi, Sonnet Mondal and Sujata Bhatt have become well-known names in the contemporary Indian as well as the International literary world. Even non-regular poetry readers are familiar with the works of these poets, despite the fact that their audiences vary. Involved in not only writing but promoting Indian poetry, these poets have visited places, written about identity, and touched several chords of human sensation in their poems.
Akhil Katyal is a poet who is well-known in India for his Queer Literature and LGBT activism. His poetry are well-liked by a large number of young Indians. His books The Doubleness of Sexuality: Idioms of Same-Sex Desire in Modern India, The Doubleness of Sexuality: Idioms of Same-Sex Desire in Modern India, and The Doubleness of Sexuality: I How Many Countries Does the Indus Cross, as well as Like Blood on the Bitten Tongue: Delhi Poems, have received a lot of attention. He was the International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa in Fall 2016 and was awarded the Vijay Nambisan Poetry Fellowship for the year 2021.
Tishani Doshi is a Welsh-Gujarati-born writer and dancer. She represented India in Poetry Parnassus, a historic gathering of world poets held at the Southbank Centre in London in 2012. Tishani has garnered various plaudits and awards for her work, including an Eric Gregory Award for Poetry and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2006 for her first book, Countries of the Body. Her novel Girls Area Coming Out of the Woods was a Ted Hughes Award and Firecracker Award finalist.
Sonnet Mondal is a poet, editor, and literary curator whose books include Karmic Chanting, Ink and Line, and, most recently, An Afternoon in My Mind. Widely regarded as the modern mystic poet of India, he has traveled across continents, to several poetry festivals of the world. He led the Indian delegation to Ars Poetica Festival, Slovakia in 2016 and represented India at the 10th-anniversary edition of the Istanbul International Poetry festival in 2017 among numerous other international festivals.
Arundhathi Subramaniam considers herself first and foremost a poet, a ‘lyric poet,’ yet she has a wide range of skills. As an editor, curator, writer of prose, and journalist of literature and performance arts, she has ascended to become one of India’s most prominent modern female poets. Her debut collection of poems, On Cleaning Bookshelves, was published in 2001, and her body of work has grown greatly since then.
Her work delves into issues of “unbelonging” and identity, as well as love, vulnerability, and ambiguity. Her most recent works are When God is a Traveler (winner of the first Khushwant Singh Poetry Prize and a TS Eliot Prize finalist) and Eating God: A Book of Bhakti Poetry (a Penguin anthology of sacred lyric).
Born in Ahmedabad, Sujata Bhatt migrated to USA for her studies in in 1968 and then moved in Germany. Her first collection of poems, Brunizem, won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award. Her other significant poetry books include The One Who Goes Away, Augatora and Pure Lizard. Her latest book of poems is Poppies in Translation.