Reetika Vazirani

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Reetika Gina Vazirani
Reetika Vazirani.jpg
Born August 9, 1962
Patiala, India
Died July 16, 2003(2003-07-16) (aged 40)
Chevy Chase, Maryland, United States
Occupation Author
Genre Poetry
Notable works White Elephants, World Hotel, Radha Says

Reetika Gina Vazirani (August 9, 1962 – July 16, 2003)[1] was an American poet and educator. On July 16, 2003, Vazirani was housesitting in the Chevy Chase, Maryland[2] home of novelist Howard Norman and his wife, the poet, Jane Shore. There, Vazirani took the life of her two-year-old son, Jehan, by slashing his wrist, and then her own.[3]

Life[edit]

She was born in Patiala, India in 1962, came to the US with her family in 1968. After graduating from Wellesley College in 1984, she received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to travel to India, Thailand, Japan, and China. She also received an M.F.A. from the University of Virginia as a Hoyns Fellow.

She lived in Trenton, New Jersey with her son Jehan, near the poet Yusef Komunyakaa, who was her partner and Jehan's father.[2] There she taught creative writing as a visiting faculty member at The College of New Jersey.[4] At the time of her death, Vazirani was Writer-in-Residence at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, with the intent of joining the English department at Emory University.

Works[edit]

She was the author of two poetry collections, White Elephants, winner of the 1995 Barnard New Women Poets Prize, and World Hotel (Copper Canyon Press, 2002),[5] winner of the 2003 Anisfield-Wolf book award. She was a contributing and advisory editor for Shenandoah, a book review editor for Callaloo, and a senior poetry editor for Catamaran, a journal of South Asian literature. She translated poetry from Urdu and had some OF her poems translated into Italian.

She contributed a poem, Mouth-Organs and Drums, to a "Poets Against War" anthology.

Vazirani's final collection of poetry, Radha Says was published in the fall of 2009 by Drunken Boat Media, edited by Leslie McGrath and Ravi Shankar.

Awards[edit]

She was a recipient of a Discovery/The Nation Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Poets & Writers Exchange Program Award, fellowships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers conferences, the Glenna Luschei/Prairie Schooner Award for her essay, "The Art of Breathing," included in the anthology How We Live our Yoga (Beacon 2001). She also had a poem in The Best American Poetry 2000.

References[edit]

External links[edit]