Dr. Amit Majmudar, a nuclear radiologist from Dublin, Ohio, was last week named Ohio’s first poet laureate, a year after legislation creating the position of the state’s official poet was passed.
Gov. John R. Kasich named Majmudar, a medical doctor who serves as a diagnostic and nuclear radiologist, the poet laureate. Dec. 17 following recommendation for the position by the Ohio Poet Laureate Selection Committee that conducted an extensive statewide nomination and review process.
Throughout his medical career, Majmudar, 36, has nurtured his writing as a poet, novelist and essayist. He has published two novels, Partitions in 2009 and The Abundance in 2011. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry Magazine, The Antioch Review and The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-2012.
His essays and literary criticism have appeared in a number of publications as well, including the New York Times, The Kenyon Review and Poetry Daily. “Our first poet laureate will bring a unique perspective to this new role and is a powerful example to our young people that regardless of what career path they choose to pursue, they always can tap into their other passions,” Kasich said in a press statement.
During his two-year term, beginning January 1, 2016, Majmudar said he intends to bring an “interdisciplinary approach” to promoting poetry by establishing a link with the existing, thriving Ohio arts community. According to a governor’s office press release, another important component of his outreach will be engaging Ohio high school students through a variety of means to encourage the future of poetry in Ohio.
In 2011, his poetry collection “Heaven and Earth” was named winner of the Donald Justice Prize, a national poetry award presented by the Iris N. Spencer Poetry Awards. His next collection of poems, “Dothead,” will be published in March by Alfred A. Knopf.
Majmudar is a graduate of Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine and received his bachelor’s degree in natural sciences from the University of Akron. He currently works for Radiology Inc. in Columbus. According to Poetry Foundation, an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture, in his precise, often formally driven poems, Majmudar explores themes of identity, history, spiritual faith, and mortality.
In an interview with the Kenyon Review, the foundation said, Majmudar stated that his credo comes from Eliot, quoting the Upanishads in his notes to ‘What the Thunder Said’: Da, dayadhvam, damyata. Give, sympathize, control.
“That is both the art of life and the art of poetry. It seems fitting to me that they should be identical,” he said. Noting Majmudar’s “expressive grasp of familial, religious, and cultural tensions and allegiances” in a review of Heaven and Earth for Verse Wisconsin, poet Zara Raab praised his ability to compose poems that “reveal tenderness in their humanity and the precision of a surgeon in their details.” Son of immigrants from India, Majmudar was born in New York and grew up in Greater Cleveland.