Rajiv Mohabir

Indo-Carribbean Author
Award-winning Poet
Essayist & Translator

Readings &
Lecture Topics
  • The Taxidermy Workshop
  • Writing the Bizarre
  • Writing the Mystical
  • An Evening with Rajiv Mohabir

Biography

“Languid fire or tumultuous storm, mythic cow herder or drunken Queens teenager — Rajiv Mohabir will not let up and won’t let you go. Be fierce, dear reader, and join him in celebrating the queer, colored diaspora that begins in the gut and continues in the heart. Mohabir is one of the most urgent poets to break into the scene. Hands down.” —Kimiko Hahn

“Rajiv Mohabir’s poetry is electric with fierce love—animal, erotic, obliterating—the hard and soft always bruising and buffing each other. The ways we hurt each other are similar to the ways we hurt ourselves: precisely, with a steadiness learned in the murk and danger of childhood. The cornfields of adolescence and the observation of animals teach us how to not only love each other and tear each other apart but also how to meticulously put what we love, what we destroy, back together again.” – Brenda Shaughnessy

Rajiv Mohabir is an Indo-Caribbean American author of three acclaimed poetry collections, The Taxidermist’s Cut, Cowherd’s Son, and Cutlish. He is also the author of the hybrid memoir, Antiman.

Capable in Hindi, Bhojpuri and a dying language known as “Guyanese Hindi,” Rajiv was awarded a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translation of Lalbihari Sharma’s Holi Songs of Demerara, published originally in 1916. Mr. Sharma was an indentured laborer, as well as a singer and a musician, on the sugarcane fields in Guyana. He was the first Indo-Caribbean writer to write and publish in his native dialect, a mix of Bhojpuri and Awadhi. His collection, I Even Regret Night (2019), is a translation of this text. In 2020 it received the Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Mohabir’s poem “Ancestor” was chosen by Philip Metres for the 2015 AWP Intro Journal Award. His poems also received the 2015 Editor’s Choice Award from Bamboo Ridge Journal and the 2014 Academy of American Poet’s Prize for the University of Hawai‘i. His poem “Dove” appears in Best American Poetry 2015. Other poems and translations appear in journals such as Quarterly West, Guernica, The Collagist, The Journal, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Drunken Boat, small axe, The Asian American Literary Review, Great River Review, and PANK. He has received several Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. He has received fellowships from Voices of Our Nationʻs Artist foundation, Kundiman, The Home School (where he was the Kundiman Fellow), and the American Institute of Indian Studies language program.

Rajiv holds a BA from the University of Florida in religious studies, an MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Long Island University, Brooklyn, an MFA in poetry and literary translation from Queens College, CUNY where he was Editor in Chief of Ozone Park Literary Journal, and a PhD in English from the University of Hawai`i. Rajiv is currently a professor in the MFA program Emerson College.

Short Bio

Rajiv Mohabir is an Indo-Caribbean American author of three acclaimed poetry collections, The Taxidermist’s Cut, Cowherd’s Son, and Cutlish; a book of translation, I Even Regret Night; and his hybrid memoir, Antiman. He is winner of the 2015 Kundiman Prize, a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant, a finalist for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry, and has received fellowships from Voices of Our Nationʻs Artist foundation, Kundiman, The Home School, and the American Institute of Indian Studies language program. He received his MFA in Poetry and Translation from Queens College, CUNY and his PhD in English from the University of Hawai`i. Rajiv is currently a professor at Emerson College.

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