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I want to know about the biographical information of Nissim Ezekiel.

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mannat | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 12, 2009 at 4:20 PM via web

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I want to know about the biographical information of Nissim Ezekiel.

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jennifer-taubenheim | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted August 13, 2009 at 1:52 PM (Answer #1)

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Nissim Ezekiel was born December 14, 1924 in Mumbai. His parents were both in education, with his mother being principal of a school and his father being a professor of botanly at Wilson College. They belonged to the Jewish community in Mumbai which was known as "Bene Israel."

Ezekiel earned an MA in Literature in 1947. He went on to teach English literature and publish literary articles. A year later he went to Longon to study Philosophy at Birk Beck College. He stayed there for 3 1/2 years, then worked his way home to Mumbai as a deck-scrubber on a ship headed to Indochina with a cargo of arms.

In 1952 he was married to Daisy Jacob. His first collection of poetry (A Time To Change) was also published that year. The following year he became an assistant editor for The Illustrated Weekly of India. He stayed there for 2 years. Soon after he published his second book of poetry (Sixty Poems).

For the next 10 years after that he worked for All India Radio as a broadcaster on literature and the arts. In 1961, he co-founded the literary monthly magazine, Imprint. He was an art critic for The Times of India (1964-66) and he edited Poetry India (1966-67). From 61-72, he headed the English department of Mithibai College in Mumbai. 

Ezekiel's 5th book of poetry was published in 1965. During this time he had short term tenure as a visiting professor with the Universtiy of Leeds and the University of Chicago. He developed a bit of a drug habit during this time, thought to be a way to "expand" his writing skills. He is thought to have used hallucinogenic drugs from about 1969-1972.  

In 74 he embarked on a tour of the US. He also went on to translate the poetry of Indira Sant (along with Vrinda Nabar), and he also co-edited a fiction and poetry anthology. One of his most well known poems is The Night of the Scorpion, which is often taught in Indian and British schools.

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