Reetika Vazirani was born in India and raised in Maryland. Her debut volume, White Elephants, won the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. As poet Marilyn Hacker writes in the introduction, White Elephants is “about the intersection of two cultures, about the richness and confusion, the conundrums, the music, the flavors, the constant questioning of a genuinely multicultural existence."

The recently-released World Hotel vividly portrays the clashes between mother and daughter, between lovers, between eastern and western cultures, and between colonizers and colonized. In a review in The Nation, Grace Schulman wrote that Vazirani “creates poetry out of opposites: the sacred and the secular, exile and belonging, humor and wry sadness. Her poetry is a delight."

Vazirani’s honors include a 1999 Pushcart Prize, a 1998 Poets & Writers “Writers Exchange" award, a 1994 “Discovery? The Nation?" award, fellowships from the Watson Foundation (for travel and study in India, Thailand, Japan, and China), the Sewanee Writers Conference, Yaddo, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

Educated at Wellesley College and the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns teaching fellow, Vazirani also taught in the graduate workshop at the University of Oregon and at Sweet Briar College and served as an editor for Shenandoah.


Poems by Reetika Vazirani

Excerpt of the sonnet sequence White Elephants


It's Me, I'm not Home




    Poetry Center Reading:
    Spring 2003