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Satyendra Srivastava

Satyendra Srivastava was born in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, India in 1935. He was educated at the University of Poona, and at the University of London, where he was awarded a Ph D in 1978. He lectured at the University of Toronto 1969-71; since 1980 he has been senior language teaching officer at Cambridge University.

His first collection of poetry Jaltarang (Harmonica) appeared in 1952, followed by four other collections, also in Hindi: Ek kiran ek phul (For every flower a sun), 1954; Sthir yatrae (Stationary voyages), 1975; Mrs Jones aur vah gali (Mrs Jones and her street) 1978; and Satah ki gahrai (Below the surface), 1980. He is also the author of two plays, Sahid Udham Singh (the martyr Udham Singh), 1991, and Patthar gata hai (the stone sings), for radio, 1956. A collection of essays and travel pieces, Kandho par indradhanus (A rainbow on my shoulder) appeared in 1989.

He began writing poetry in English in the later 1980s and had poems published in Ambit and other magazines. Peepal Tree Press published his first collection in English, Talking Sanskrit to Fallen Leaves in 1994. Srivastava’s poetic involvement with the UK predates this collection in English to those written in Hindi, particularly Mrs Jones aur vah gali, which deals with the experiences of an old white woman in the East End of London and her responses to the successive waves of settlement, including by Indians. Talking Sanskrit similarly explores the interpenetration of these worlds.

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