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|Poet, Poetry and The Native Land|
|by Alipta Jena|
"Poetry is meant to be communicated": such is the poetic manifesto of Jayanta Mahapatra, eminent Indian poet in English. John Barnie, comparing Wordsworth and Mahapatra said, "The differences in the two poets are profound, yet in one sense at least, the comparison is just, for few poets in our century have evoked the still, sad, music so movingly as Mahapatra. He writes mainly about Orissa and everyday characters and incidents in Oriya life as in his poem about Raju sweeper.
Despite being an established Indian writer in English, Mahapatra turned to writing in Oriya and became a bi-lingual writer. He has stated that he is basically an "Oriya poet who incidentally writes in English". Speaking about the constant presence of Orissa in his poetry, he says," My writing portrays cultural values native to Orissa, not to other regions of India. And perhaps I have done just this in my poetry". His collections in Oriya include Baya Raja, Bali, Kahibi Gotie Katha and others. Madhusudan Prasad, who collected a series of essays on him in The Poetry Of Jayanta Mahapatra: A Critical Study finds him " authentically Indianï¿½rooted deeply in Indian socio-cultural values."
His poetry is evocative and haunting, and settles down slowly in the mind like rain. His Collection of poems include The Rain of Rites, the award wining Relationship, Close the Sky, Ten By Ten and others. He has won the prestigious Jacob Glatstein Prize (Chicago, 1975) and the Sahitya Akademi Award, 1981. He admits that poetry came to him rather late. In his own words," Poetry came to me much later, when I thought I had almost finished with my life. And writing a good poem makes me feel really good." Most of his poems, written in flowing free verse, reveal a graceful sense of motion, of perspective, and of time. His latest collection, Random Descent has been widely appreciated and even thought by many to be his best work till date.
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09/21/2012 00:00 AM
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