Manohar Shetty

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Manohar Shetty
Manohar Shetty.
Poet from Goa.
Born 1953
Bombay (Mumbai)
Occupation Writer, poet, editor.
Language English
Nationality Indian
Citizenship Indian
Genre Poetry, short story, anthology.
Notable works Ferry Crossings; work included in The Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets.
Years active 1981-
Spouse Devika Sequeira
Children Shaira Sequeira Shetty, Riya Sequeira Shetty

Manohar Shetty (born 1953[1]) is a Goa-based poet, who has eight books of poems to his credit and is considered one of the prominent Indian poets writing in the English language.

He has been a Senior Fellow with the Sahitya Akademi, the Indian academy of arts and the letters, and Shetty's work is found in several anthologies, including The Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets[2] edited by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and anthologies edited by Eunice de Souza, Vilas Sarang and Jeet Thayil.


Manohar Shetty was born in Bombay and educated in Panchgani.[3] He graduated from Bombay University in 1974 and immediately began working as a journalist.[3]

Critical perspectives[edit]

Shetty's poetry is seen as being an integral part of the "chronology of modern Indian English poetry,"[4] with these third-generation English language poets moving "away from radical modernist techniques. They are more concerned with the portrayal and assessment of their family background, their own lives and relations with others, and their immediate environment.[5] Shetty's poetry is described as reveling in "the celebration of the sombre" and being filled with "sepulchral images" while their "mood is predominantly one of helplessness and lethargy."[3]

Shetty is listed in Sudeep Sen's essay "New Indian Poetry: The 1990s Perspective", published in World Literature Today, Vol. 68, No. 2.[6] Sen sees his first three books as having used "with unusual effect the spatial element that pervades everyday life. Whether in a cramped train... or looking inward... or opening a lid". He also sees the poet as being in "full control of the movements of his characters in the areas he has outlined."

K. Narayana Chandran of the University of Hyderabad, while reviewing[7] Shetty's Domestic Creatures in World Literature Today, comments: "To be able to write magnificently about the little world one knows - and what passionate care all this involves - is no small gift for a poet. Manohar Shetty is an eminently gifted poet in this sense."

In another review[8] in 1982 in the same journal (World Literature Today) of Shetty's A Guarded Space, S. Amanuddin is more critical, saying some poems had "interesting story lines" but their stories "often tend to be rather pathetic, true to the nature of the Indian social scene." But, commenting on the poet's first book, he said Shetty "does have a number of poems that clearly show he is a talented poet. One would hope to see more volumes of his verse".

New Delhi-based magazine Caravan has said that with five collections by the age of 60, Shetty was "something of a rarity among Indian English poets of his and preceding generations, who have tended to be rather less consistent in their output."[9]


Manohar Shetty's poems do not so much state as imply. The world they connect with is a world of perceptions and sudden realizations. His best poems have a delicacy of touch and texture which would be outstanding in any young poet. This book is full not only of promise but, often, of actual achievement.' – Dom Moraes, on Shetty's first book of poems, A Guarded Space published in 1981.

'Manohar Shetty's poems are pure delight, so much so that, because you want the pleasure to last, you read them slowly, one at a time, taking a mental walk after each. A spare richness marked his poems from the start and, over the decades, this hasn’t changed. What has changed is that the poems are even more burnished than before. They glow, and continue to do so long after the page has been turned, the book returned to the shelf... This is poetry so naturally memorable that you don’t need to consciously memorize it.' – Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, on his fourth book Personal Effects (2010).

Poetry volumes[edit]

As of 2017, he has published eight volumes of poetry. They are:

  • Morning Light. Delhi: Copper Coin, 2016
  • Personal Effects, Delhi: Copper Coin, 2015
  • Living Rooms, New Delhi: HarperCollins, 2014
  • Creatures Great and Small, Delhi: Copper Coin, 2014[10]
  • Body Language, Mumbai: Poetrywala, 2012
  • Domestic Creatures: Poems, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994
  • Borrowed Time, Bombay: Praxis, 1988
  • A Guarded Space, Bombay: Newground, 1981

Books edited[edit]

  • Ferry Crossing—Short Stories from Goa, New Delhi: Penguin India, 1998[11]
  • Goa Travels, Being the Accounts of Travellers to Goa from the 16th to the 20th Century, New Delhi: Rupa, 2014[11]
  • Special edition on English language poets of India for Poetry Wales.

Fellowships awarded[edit]

Earlier, he has been a Homi Bhaba Fellow and a Senior Sahitya Akademi Fellow.

Translations, evaluation of work[edit]

His work has been translated into Finnish, German, Italian, Marathi and Slovenian.

Evaluations of his work have been included in Modern Indian Poetry in English (New Delhi: OUP, 1987, 2011, Bruce King Ed.) and An Illustrated History of Indian Literature in English (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Ed.).

His work has appeared in The Baffler (US), the London Magazine, Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, Wasafiri, Chelsea (US), Rattapallax (US), Fulcrum (US), Shenandoah (US), The Common (US), New Letters (US), Helix (Australia).

Personal life[edit]

He has been based in Goa since 1985. Shetty is based in Dona Paula, a suburb some seven kilometres from the state-capital of Panjim (Panaji) in Goa. He is a former editor of the magazine Goa Today and also worked in the media in Mumbai and Bangalore too, including with papers such as Indian Express (Bombay/Mumbai), Mid-Day. For his stint as editor of Goa Today, he succeeded Vaman Sardessai in the post, after the latter was appointed India's ambassador to Angola.

In a book chapter, he has written an account[11] of his personal encounter with alcohol in the book House Spirit: Drinking in India - Stories, Essays, Poems[12] (Speaking Tiger Books).

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Manohar Shetty". Open Space. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Tejpal, Tarun J. "The new literary map". India Today. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c "Entry for Manohar Shetty," Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English by Eugene Benson, Routledge, 2004, page 1438.
  4. ^ "The Third Generation: Melanie Silgardo and Manohar Shetty," chapter 21 of A History of Indian Poetry in English by Rosinka Chaudhuri, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  5. ^ "The Third Generation: Melanie Silgardo and Manohar Shetty," chapter 21 of A History of Indian Poetry in English by Rosinka Chaudhuri, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  6. ^ Sen, Sudeep. "New Indian Poetry: The 1990s Perspective". World Literature Today. 68 (2): 276. JSTOR 40150142.  – via JSTOR (subscription required)
  7. ^ Chandran, K. Narayana (Autumn 1995). "Review-Domestic Creatures by Manohar Shetty". World Literature Today. 69 (4): 875. JSTOR 40151820.  – via JSTOR (subscription required)
  8. ^ Amanuddin, S. (Autumn 1982). "Review-A Guarded Space by Manohar Shetty". World Literature Today. 56 (4): 758. JSTOR 40138461.  – via JSTOR (subscription required)
  9. ^ Sharanya. "Private Eye: The strange, sensuous world of Manohar Shetty's poetry". Caravan Magazine. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Manohar Shetty". Poetry with Prakriti 2016. Poetry With Prakriti (Chennai). Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c Shetty, Manohar. "A poet remembers: Drinking in Goa and why alcohol is a false god". Daily O. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  12. ^ Mehrotra (Editor), Palash Krishna. "House Spirit: Drinking in India-Stories, Essays, Poems". Goodreads. Goodreads. Retrieved 6 March 2017.