Publishers of Fine Verse from India



The (Great) Indian Poetry Prize Announces Three Winners
Jeet Thayil selects Rohan Chhetri as winner of Emerging Poets Prize
Jennifer Robertson & Vidhu Aggarwal win Editor’s Choice

BANGALORE — Out of a robust field of nearly 100 entries, three winning manuscripts have been chosen for publication by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a startup publishing house based in Bangalore, India.

The winners are:

  • Rohan Chhetri, a Nepali-Indian poet based in Dooars, who will be joining the graduate creative writing program at Syracuse University as a University Fellow this year.

  • Jennifer Robertson, a poet and a CSR consultant, who is co-curator of the Cappuccino Readings in Bombay.

  • Vidhu Aggarwal, who was born in Ranchi, grew up in the Southern United States, and teaches postcolonial and translational literature and media at Rollins College in Florida.

Rohan’s manuscript was chosen for the Emerging Poet’s Prize by the guest judge, poet and novelist Jeet Thayil, who called it “brilliant” and praised its attention to “old-fashioned” craft “without gimmicks.”

Jennifer’s and Vidhu’s manuscripts were selected as Editor’s Choice awards by the Founding Poets of the Collective.

The judges called Jennifer’s work, which reels with references to art and literature from around the world,  “strange, interesting, visual, and cerebral.”

Vidhu’s manuscript is a surreal exploration of the world through a character named Humpadori; the judges found in it “a strong voice, full of passion and rage and contempt, with something to say.”

All three books will be published in 2015 and 2016, and each poet will receive a prize of Rs 15,000.

In addition to the three winners, fifteen emerging poets have been invited to participate in a new Fellows program of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, in which they will give and receive peer critique to further the development of their manuscripts.

Poets Shikha Malaviya, Ellen Kombiyil, and Minal Hajratwala founded the press in 2013. Under a peer mentorship model, the poets publish contemporary books of English language poetry from India and the Indian diaspora each year, discovering and bringing forth new voices that are innovative and diverse.  Collective books have received widespread critical acclaim. The Collective also runs inPoetry: The (Great) Indian Poetry App, soon to be available for Android users.

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2015 Great Indian Poetry Prize Winners

Rohan ChhetriRohan Chhetri is a Nepali-Indian poet based in Dooars. His poems have been published in Eclectica, Rattle, 34th Parallel, EVENT, and The Antigonish Review, among others. He has won the RædLeaf Poetry India Award 2013 and the TFA Award 2014(Writing) for his poems, and was nominated for the Best New Poets 2015 anthology. He was a Toto-Sangam Fellow at the Sangam House International Residency (2014-15) and is a former editor at Hachette India. He will be joining the graduate creative writing program at Syracuse University as a University Fellow in August 2015.

Jennifer RobertsonJennifer Robertson is a poet and a CSR consultant living in Bombay. Her poetry has been featured in several Indian print anthologies and international e-zines. Her poems have appeared in Visual Verse, Moss Trill, RædLeaf Poetry India, Antiserious and elsewhere. Her book reviews have appeared and are forthcoming in The Telegraph, The Mint, Scroll and American Book Review. She was the reader and Judge for the RædLeaf Poetry India award in the year 2013 and 2014 respectively. She co-curates Cappuccino Readings in Bombay—an initiative to bring senior and emerging poets together in a cafe environment. Jennifer is a member of the PEN@Prithvi core team. She has been a featured poet at many events and poetry festivals such as the 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Poetry with Prakriti Festival, Chennai, The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, 2015, and Hyderabad Poetry reading- ‘And Still They Rise’ organised by RædLeaf Poetry India in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate. Her first book of poems is titled ‘What I Write About When I Write About Bones’.

Vidhu AggarwalBorn in Ranchi, India, Vidhu Aggarwal grew up in the Southern U.S., Louisiana and Texas.  Her poems, photo-text works, and comic collaborations have appeared or are forthcoming in Bint El Nas, Harpur Palate, Interlope, Limestone, Nimrod, PANK, Juked, Sugar House Review, INK BRICK, and Norton’s Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond, among others.  A Kundiman fellow, she is the founding editor of SPECS, a multi-media journal of critical and creative practices, and has worked with the John Sims project on the 13 Flag Funerals in Florida, and performed “Lady Humpadori,” a desi-futurist poetic/comic collaboration with Bishakh Som in various cities.   She teaches postcolonial and translational literature and media at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and has written on the poetics of Bollywood cinema.   Her manuscript Avatara explores the various meanings of “avatar” in relationship to multiplayer online gaming and the Y2K crisis.

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