Jayanta Mahapatra is one of the best known Indian English poets, He was born in Cuttack in 1928, and was educated at Stewart School and Ravenshaw College, Cuttack and Science College, Patna. He lives in Cuttack, where he is a Reader in Physics at Ravenshaw College. His work include close the Sky Ten by Ten (1971), Countermeasures (1973), poems translated from the Oriya of Soubhagya Misra and A Rain of Rites (1976). He has contributed to Critcal Quarterly (Manchester), Poetry Jacob Glatstein Memorial Prize of poetry (Chicago) in 1975. During 1976-7, he was a member of the University of Ioa,s International writing Program. He edits Chandrabhaga.
Mahapatra explores the intricacies of human relationships, espe-cially those of lovers, with a robust tenderness. About the poems themselves there is an unexpected quietude. He says, ‘What appears to disturb me is the triumph of silence in the mind: and if these Poems are inventions, they are also longings amid the flow of voices toward a need that I feel is defensive. A poem makes me see out of it in all directions, like a sieve, and I am almost relief from the uncertainties one has come to expect of life, probed rigorously, for instance, in ‘Lost’ and ‘The Logic’. There is an intense, dramatic quality about ‘A Missing Person’. The economy of phrasing and startling images recall the subhasitas (literally, that which is well said) of classical Sanskrit.