Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

(1947 / Lahore / British India (Pakistan))

Biography of Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra poet

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra is a noted Indian English poet, anthologist, literary critic and translator. He is well known for incorporating a post-modernist style in modern English poetry.


Arvind Krishna Mehrotra a popular name in modern English poetry was born the year 1947 in Lahore. He has published four volumes of poetry. Mehrotra had completed his education from Oxford University. Presently the poet has been nominated for the chair of Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford in 2009. It is the style of Mehrotra to continually revise a small body of work, polishing, crafting, and aiming at elegance, wit precision and an impersonality which will fix the poem and the personal memories that are its source.


Mehrotras poetry largely falls into two groups. His earliest work is an immediate reaction to his discovery of various modern, post-modernist and earlier avant-garde style and poetics. On the contrary Mehrotra`s present phase is different as it involves a precise recording of external, a making of art from specifics and details, the notating of what he calls, "location". Often the subject matter comes from memories of childhood or from reading history. The technique which has been used by Mehrotra is generally the surrealistic technique. He likes to juxtapose bits and pieces of sensibility as represented by clich‚d language, sentiments and situations.

In the poems there has been abundant use of Allahabad because most of his poems are related to the nostalgic moments and reminiscences of Allahabad where he had spent a major portion of his life. Mehrotra`s increasing pre-occupation with personal and local realities is derived from his imagism and he demands that poetry be made of specifics and also express its locations.

As a poet Mehrotra also has the capacity to create continuities and connections between language and experience. Mehrotras early poems have several characteristics of post-modernism. The form is highly fragmented and relies on collage and montage with no mythic, formal or symbolic structure to create coherence. As in much post modernist literature it seems to enclose itself with the focus on the text rather than society or history.

The poems of Mehrotra show very little feeling of exhaustion and hopelessness which is noticeable in some of the other post-modernist writers. As far as humour of Mehrotra is concerned it was iconoclastic in nature. Mehrotra`s poetry offers a cool, clever, ironic catalogue of received ideas and ready made speech.

Some of the notable literary works of Mehrotra includes, "The Exquisite Corpse", "The Sale", "The Roys", "The Book of Common Places and a lot more. Hence it can be concluded saying that Arvind Kishore Mehrotra had incorporated a style in his poems which had ample resemblance with post-modern literary works.

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra's Works:

Poetry Collections

(1984). Middle earth. Three crowns books. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
(1976). Nine enclosures. Bombay: Clearing House.
(1982). Distance in statute miles. Bombay: Clearing House.
(1998). The transfiguring places: poems. Delhi: Ravi Dayal Publisher.

Edited Books

(2003). History of Indian literature in English. New York: Columbia University Press, (
(1992). The Oxford India anthology of twelve modern Indian poets. Delhi: Oxford University Press. excerpts
Translated into German as Mehrotra, A. K. (2006). Indische Dichter der Gegenwart eine Anthologie englischsprachiger Lyrik Indiens. Heidelberg: Verl. Das Wunderhorn.
(1993). Periplus: poetry in translation. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
(2007). The last bungalow: writings on Allahabad. New Delhi: Penguin Books.


(1991). The Absent traveller: Prākrit love poetry from the Gāthāsaptaśatī of Sātavāhana Hāla. Delhi: Distributed by Orient Longman.

Editor of Literary Magazines

Ezra, Allahabad, India, Ezra-Fakir Press, 1966.
"A magazine of neo imagiste poetry."
Fakir, Bombay, Concrete poetry, Bombay.

This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia Arvind Krishna Mehrotra; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA. Updates

To An Unborn Daughter

If writing a poem could bring you
Into existence, I'd write one now,
Filling the stanzas with more
Skin and tissue than a body needs,
Filling the lines with speech.
I'd even give you your mother's

Close-bitten nails and light-brown eyes,
For I think she had them. I saw her

[Report Error]