Bhubaneswar, Aug 27: Legendary poet Padma Shri Jayanta Mahapatra passed away on Sunday evening at the age of 95. He breathed his last while undergoing treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. He was conferred with a Padma Shri in 2009.
He completed his M. Sc. in Physics from Patna University, Bihar. He began his teaching career as a lecturer in physics in 1949 and taught at various government colleges in Odisha including Gangadhar Meher College, Sambalpur, B.J.B College, Bhubaneswar, Fakir Mohan College, Balasore and Ravenshaw College, Cuttack. He superannuated at Ravenshaw College, Cuttack (now Ravenshaw University) and retired from his government job as the Reader in Physics in 1986.
He began his writing career in the late sixties. His short stories and poems were initially rejected by several publishers, until his poems were published in international literary journals. He was invited to participate in the International Writing Program at Iowa, which brought him international exposure.
Mahapatra has authored 27 books of poems, of which seven are in Odia and the rest in English. His poetry volumes include Relationship, Bare Face and Shadow Space. Besides poetry, he has experimented widely with myriad forms of prose. His published books of prose include Green Gardener, an anthology of short stories and Door of Paper: Essay and Memoirs. Mahapatra is also a distinguished editor and has been bringing out the literary magazine, Chandrabhaga. His poems have appeared in prestigious poetry anthologies like The Dance of the Peacock: An Anthology of English Poetry from India, published by Hidden Brook Press, Canada.