Srinivas Rayaprol

Son of Dr. Rayaprolu Subba Rao, the “father of modern Telugu poetry,” Srinivas Rayaprol was born in 1925 in Secunderabad. He studied in Nizam College, Hyderabad and at the Banaras Hindu University before going to Stanford University from where he obtained a M.S. in Civil Engineering. While in the U.S., he started writing poetry in English and interacted closely with writers like William Carlos Williams, Yvor Winters, and James Laughlin.

On his return to India, Rayaprol joined government service as an engineer. He worked with distinction in various departments and rose to top positions in his chosen career. However, like his friend and mentor, William Carlos Williams, who was a doctor by profession, he spent considerable time on his literary pursuits. His poems were published in Indian and foreign magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, Quest, and The Illustrated Weekly. Described by Dom Moraes as “a pioneer of modern Indian poetry in English,” Rayaprol’s poems are represented in six anthologies, including Anthology of Indian Poems edited by Erik Stinus. He founded and edited a lively literary journal, East and West in which some of the best writers in India as well as those abroad published poetry and prose. Three anthologies of his poetry, Bones and Distances (1968), Married Love and Other Poems (1972), and Selected Poems (1995) were all published by the Writers’ Workshop, Calcutta.

For the last few years until his untimely death in 1998, Rayaprol was engaged in translating Telugu poetry and short fiction into English. His translations have appeared in various anthologies, including Women Writing in India (1993) edited by Susie Tharu and K.Lalitha.