Who was Nissim Eizekiel?

Life and Works of Nissim Eizekiel
The term “Indo-Anglian” is used to denote original literacy creation in the English language by Indians. Today there are a large number educated Indians who use the English language as a medium for creative exploration and expression of life. Their writing has now developed into a substantial body of literature which is now referred to as Indian-English literature.

Nissim Ezekiel is one of the foremost Indian poets writing in English, and he has attracted considerable critical attention from scholars both in India and abroad. Not only that but also by virtue of his critical evaluation, he has brought fame and recognition to a number of Indian-English poets.

This outstanding poet of post-independence India was born in Mumbai in 1924. He is a Jew by birth, but he has made India his home. He was educated at Antonio D’Souza High School and Wilson College, Mumbai and Birbeck College, London. He lives in Mumbai, where he is Reader in American Literature at the university. IN 1964, he was a Visiting Professor at Leeds University. In 1974, an invitee of the U.S government under its International Visitors Program; and in 1975, a Cultural Award Visitor to Australia. For sometime, he was Director of Theatre Unit, Bombay. His literary works include A Time to Change (1952), Sixty Poems (1953), The Third (1959) The Unfinished Man (1960), The Exact Name (1965), Three Plays (1969) and Hymns in Darkness and Posters Poems (1976).

He has had poems published in Encounter; The Illustrated Weekly of India; London Magazine and The Spectator.

Eizekiel was in England from 1948-52. He returned to India in 1952 and worked for some time as Professor and Head of the Dept., of English, Mittibhai College of Arts, Mumbai. Today, he is settled at Mumbai and works as reader in American Literature in the University of Mumbai. He has been abroad on a number of assignments. He was a visiting professor at the University of Leeds in 1964, and then in 1967 he went on a lecture tour of America and recited his own poems at a number of universities and colleges. In 1974 he was invited by the U.S government under the International Visitors Programme and in 1975 he went to Australia as a Cultural Award Visitor. Beside his teaching assignments, he has also worked for sometime as the Director of the Theatre unit, Mumbai. Also, he has worked, and is still working, as the editor of a number of journals including, The Quiet; The Illustrated Weekly of India; The Indian P .E .N. and Poetry in India. He is also a member of the General Council of the Lalit Kala Akademi and the Sahitya Akademi. He is also working as the General Editor of the Indian Poetry Series and the University Text Book Series.

In England “philosophy poverty and poetry” shared his basement room. But now in India he lives in comfortable circumstances. He is married and has three children, and is a man much sought after, and he wields great influence on Indian art and literature. He has not only been a good poet himself, but also a cause of good poetry in others. Through sheer sustained effort, spread over a period of over twenty-five years, he has come to occupy the foremost place among the Indian poets writing in English. Through primarily a poet, his interests are not confined to poetry alone. He is also a great critic by virtue both of the quality and quantity of his criticism. He has flirted with politics in the grab of cultural freedom and has also been in advertising for some time. He has also tried his hand at drama and has some good plays to his credit. He has frequently changed his job and has played many roles, but primarily he has always been a poet. A glance at his public works is sufficient to give us an idea of the versatility of his generation.

Written by Lucas Beaumont

Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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