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A. K. Ramanujan (Attinat Krishnaswami Ramanujan) Biography

(1929–93), (Attinat Krishnaswami Ramanujan), Speaking of Siva, The Striders, Relations, Selected Poems, Second Sight

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Indian poet, born in Mysore, educated there and at Indiana University. Long resident in the USA, he was appointed Professor of Linguistics and of South East Asian Languages and Civilization at the University of Chicago. More austere in style than fellow ‘Indo-Anglian’ poets like Dom Moraes and Nissim Ezekiel, his poems are particularly notable for applying Indian sensibilities to American culture. ‘Death and the Good Citizen’, a powerful and uncompromising poem, for instance, starkly contrasts Indian and American attitudes to death. He has written of his cultural background: ‘English and my disciplines give me my “outer” forms—linguistic, metrical, logical and other such ways of shaping experience; and my first thirty years in India, Tamil, and the classics and folklore give me my substance, my “inner” forms, images and symbols.’ He has also translated much from Kannada, including devotional lyrics rendered as Speaking of Siva (1972), and from Tamil and Malayalam. His poetry collections in English include The Striders (1966), Relations (1971), Selected Poems (1976), and Second Sight (1986).

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