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Nissim Ezekiel Biography

(1924–2004), The Unfinished Man, The Exact Man, Hymns in Darkness, Latter Day Psalms

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Englefield Green Surrey to William Faulkner Biography

Indian poet, born in Bombay to a Jewish family long resident in India, educated at the University of Bombay. He has held academic posts in Britain, Bombay, and America. Ezekiel's honest response to the challenge of expressing the cosmopolitan culture of which he is a product has made him the most respected of contemporary poets writing in English in India. He has an easy colloquial style, has experimented with Indian English, and varies his tone from a studied neutrality and ironicstance to themes that explore the mystical. Above all, Ezekiel is a poet of the city of Bombay, which is the landscape of all his work and a microcosm of contemporary urban experience. Among his volumes of poems are The Unfinished Man (1960), The Exact Man (1965), and Hymns in Darkness (1976). In Latter Day Psalms (1982), which also contains poems from earlier volumes, Ezekiel treats Old Testament psalms with irony, and explores his own Judaic background. His Collected Poems, 1952–88 appeared in 1989. He has also published Three Plays (1969) and Selected Prose (1992). See Chetan Karnani, Nissim Ezekiel: A Study (1974).

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