The page of Akella, Usha, English biography
Profile, Usha Akella. email@example.com
Usha Akella, author of two books of poetry, moved to the US from India in 1993. She studied at the Hyderabad Central University, India (M.A. English) and at the University of Baltimore (M.A. Publications Design) where she combined courses in Creative Writing and Graphic Design. Her writing life seriously began at UB with her first and only Creative Writing teacher Kendra Kopelke. Her poetry has ranged from feminist to Sufi oriented themes, and is described as compassionate, intense, and moving. Her first book of poems “...Kali Dances, So Do I...” published by Authors and Writers, India Ltd., was released in 2000 to positive reviews. Since then she has given scores of readings at reputed organizations both in the U.S.A and India, and at international poetry festivals. Her work has appeared and is upcoming in many US and Indian based journals such as The Bitter Oleander, Drunken Boat, Borderlands, Cumberland Review, The Crab Orchard Review, The Maryland Poetry Review, Pearl, Emily Dickinson Journal, Catamaran, Muse India, Ardent! Di-verse-city, Kavya Bharati etc. “A Face that does not bear the footprints of the world” was released at the International Rumi Conference, Calicut, India, in March 2008 to much acclaim from scholars and poets. Noteworthy educational and cultural institutions such as the Goethe Zentrum, Hyderbad Central University etc., hosted subsequent releases, The renowned poet Shiv K. Kumar made an exception to personally release the book at Goethe Zentrum. She has been interviewed widely. She edits a yearly section on Diasporic poetry in museindia.com. Her poetry related articles appear occasionally in newspapers.
She won the informal wine poem award at Struga Poetry Evenings 2006, Macedonia, the first Indian and woman in 45 years to do so. She was the winner of Maryland Poetry Review’s Egan Memorial Contest, and a finalist twice for the Wisconsin University Press contest. Her poem ‘One hears’ was a pushcart nomination. Her book is suggested reading at Smith College, USA. Her poems have been/will be translated into Macedonian, Malayalam, Ukranian, Spanish, Turkish, Punjabi and Slovenian. She has been featured in many US based Indian and Indian newspapers/magazines, such as Times of India, Deccan Chronicle, WOW, 040, The Hindu and India Abroad. She featured with four other poets to represent Indian Writing in English at a 2008 Sahitya Academy poetry event (considered the highest Literary organization in India.) Her poems have appeared in the Sahitya Academy’s journal Indian Literature. In 2007-08 poetry readings in India, were hosted by the Hyderabad Central University, Madras University, Bangalore University, Calicut International Book Fair and Goethe Zentrum. She served as Editor for Borderlands Literary Review, spring/summer issue 2007 which carried a section on contemporary Macedonian poets. She was dedicated to offering Creative Writing workshops to schools in India- a first in most places during her recent one-year stay in India. She is involved in the organization of ‘Kritya,’ an international poetry festival in India.
She has been invited to various festivals such as Granada Poetry Festival 2010, Nicaragua; Kolkota Book Fair, India 2010; Ubud Writers Festival 2009,Bali, Indonesia (invited/unattended); Medellin 2009, Colombia; Struga Poetry Evenings 2006, Macedonia; Days of Poetry and Wine, 2007, Medana, Slovenia; Austin International Poetry Festival 2006; Houston Poetry Festival 2006; Calicut International Book Fair, India, 2007; Oaxaca Festival of Humanities 2008, Mexico; Festival de la Palebras, Mexico City, 2008; Artwallah, LA, USA 2000.
Founder, The Poetry Caravan:
A visionary at heart, her most significant contribution to the Arts is the Poetry Caravan in Westchester County, New York. She launched the Poetry Caravan in October 2003 as an initiative of the Town of Greenburgh. The Caravan provides free Poetry related activities such as workshops and readings to people who may be at a disadvantage to access opportunities. A mobile band of about 30 poets under the umbrella of the Poetry Caravan visits Senior Centers, Women's shelters, and Healthcare facilities in the Westchester, NY area. In nearly five years the caravan has offered approximately 500 free readings. Initially, she was responsible for vision, scheduling, fund-raising, grant writing, editing, PR work, documentation, Graphic Design, Public relations etc., As a culmination of the Caravan’s efforts in March 2003 she edited an anthology of the Poetry of the 32 caravan poets titled en(compass), Yuganta Press. The book carries an introduction by former poet-laureate Billy Collins and blurbs by major national poets as Li-Young Lee. Today, the caravan continues its activities as a collective even after Usha away from New York. She presented a panel on the caravan at AWP 2007, Atlanta. The caravan was featured in the New York Times.
She enjoys connecting poets worldwide in the belief that poets irrespective of nationality, creed, ethnicity, geography or language are a single family. Poetry is one of the solid grounds of hope in our politically and socially turbulent era and offers itself as a platform to create harmony and unity.
(Editor of this page: Balázs F. Attila)