Poorna Swami, a 25-year old poet, choreographer, and dancer based in Bangalore, is the winner of the 10th Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize (2018). She was chosen for the prize from among 125 contestants from across the country by a jury consisting of the senior poet and academic, Prof. E.V. Ramakrishnan, and two faculty members – Prof. Anna Kurian and Dr. Gopika Sankar — of the Department of English, University of Hyderabad.
Poorna did her BA in Dance-Theatre and English from Mount Holyoke College (USA), where she studied poetry with Karen Osborn and former US poet-laureate, Richard Wilbur. Her poetry has been published in journals such as Indiana Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Prelude. She has presented her poetry at Judson Church (New York), Emily Dickinson Museum (Amherst), New England Translator’s Association Reading Series (Boston), Toto Funds the Arts Reading Series (Bangalore), and the Poetry with Prakriti Festival (Chennai). Between 2015-2017, Poorna served as the India Editor-at-large for the international online quarterly, Asymptote. Her writings on arts, culture, literature, and politics have appeared in well-known Indian magazines and newspapers.
Recognised as a significant award for creative writing in India, the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize was instituted by the Hyderabad-based Srinivas Rayaprol Literary Trust to recognize excellence in poetry written in English by poets in the age group of 20-40 years. The Prize is jointly administered by the Department of English, University of Hyderabad.
The inaugural prize was awarded in 2009 to Aditi Machado and, subsequently, to Hemant Mohapatra (2010), Aditi Rao (2011), Tushar Jain (2012), Mihir Vatsa (2013), and Ranjani Murali (2014), Aishwarya Iyer (2015), Goirick Brahmachari (2016), and Debarshi Mitra (2017). Eminent poets like Jeet Thayil, Sudeep Sen, Keki Daruwalla, Arundhati Subramanian, Manohar Shetty, and Ranjit Hoskote have been associated with the prize as jury members.
The award, consisting of a citation and cash prize of Rs.15,000 will be presented to the winner at a literary event to be held in Hyderabad.