Poet-Diplomat Abhay K. by Alina Medvedeva
Abhay K. is the author of a memoir and a dozen poetry books including Celestial (Mapin 2023), Stray Poems (Poetrywala, 2022), Monsoon (Sahitya Akademi, India, 2022), La Magie de Madagascar/The Magic of Madagascar (L'Harmattan, Paris, 2021), The Alphabets of Latin America (Bloomsbury India, 2020), The Prophecy of Brasilia (Coletivo Editorial, Brazil, 2018) The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu (Bloomsbury India, 2018 |The Onslaught Press, UK), The Seduction Of Delhi (Bloomsbury India, 2014), &  and the editor of CAPITALS (Bloomsbury India 2017); & The Bloomsbury Anthology of Great Indian Poems, The Bloomsbury Book of Great Indian Love Poems (2020) and The Book of Bihari Literature (HarperCollins India 2022). His 100 Great Indian Poems have been translated and published into Portuguese (100 Grandes Poemas da India), Spanish (Cien Grandes Poemas de la India),  Italian (100 Grandi Poesie Indiane),  Malagasy and French.  He has also translated and edited New Brazilian Poems. His translations include Kalidasa's Meghaduta (Bloomsbury India) and  Ritusamhara (Bloomsbury India). His translation of the first Magahi novel Fool Bahadur into English was published by Penguin Random House, India. His forthcoming book is titled Nalanda, which will be published by Penguin Random House in 2025.

He was invited to record his poems at the Library of Congress in Washington DC in Sept 2018 in the Poet and the Poem series. He was honoured with the SAARC Literary Award 2013 for his contribution to contemporary South Asian Poetry,  received a certificate in poetry writing from the International Writing Program, The University of Iowa in 2015 and was a featured writer in IWP's Silk Routes Project. His poetry has been subject to academic research and a PhD has been awarded on the subject 'Cultural Construct of Self: A Critical Study of Abhay Kumar's Poetry' by the Maharaja Ganga Singh University, Bikaner, Rajasthan. Several other research papers have also been published on his poetry. His edited anthology 100 Great Indian Poems is taught as  study material for a course on Modern Indian Writing in Translation.

His poems have appeared in over 100 international literary journals including Poetry Salzburg Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Asia Literary Review, The Missing Slate, Gargoyle among others. 

His call for a common Earth Anthem has been termed by UNESCO as a creative and inspiring thought that would contribute to bringing the world together. An Earth Anthem penned by him has been translated into over 150 languages, performed by the philharmonic orchestras in Brazil and Amsterdam and is used by many schools across the globe. He also wrote a SAARC Song and Moon Anthem. Over 100 poets, musicians, singers, actors, professors and people from different walk of life read/recited it on 51st Earth Day celebrations on 22 April 2021.

He has read his poems at LaLitTana, Antananarivo, Madagascar (2019, 2020), Oxford Bookstore, New Delhi (2019), Autonomous University of Mexico (2018), the Library of Congress, Washington DC (2018), Busboys and Poets, Washington DC (2018), Boston University (2018),  Santiago International Poetry Festival 2018, the Poets House,New York 2017; SOAS,University of London 2017; the Jaipur LitFest 2015 and 2017the International Poetry Festival in Medellin, Columbia 2017; International Poetry Festival, Granada, Nicaragua 2017; The Peruvian House of Literature in Lima 2016, the InterAmerican University in Buenos Aires 2016, at Goa Art and Lit Fest 2014,  at Mountain Echoes Literature Festival 2015 in Bhutan, Kitaabnama, a literary programme on India's national TV channel, at Nepal Literature Festival, Kathmandu 2013, at SAARC Literature Festival, Agra 2013; South Asian Poetry Festival, Kathmandu; at Sahitya Akademi- India's National Academy of Literature, New Delhi, Sikkim Academy, Gangtok, Dom Pishatelov, St. Petersburg, Russia.

His poems have been translated into French, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Nepali, Hindi, Irish, Portuguese, Slovene, Spanish, Turkish, Malagasy, Romanian, Oriya, Malayalam among other languages. His collection of poems The Alphabets of Latin America has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Malayalam, and The Magic of Madagascar into Malagasy and French.

His writings on digital diplomacy, poetry, art and global democracy have appeared in Daily O, The Times of India, The China Daily, The Korea Herald, The Diplomat (Tokyo), ANN (Singapore), The Kathmandu Post, The Himalayan Times, The Daily Star (Dhaka), The Sunday Times (Colombo) among other publications.

His artworks have been exhibited in Paris, St. Petersburg, New Delhi,  Brasilia and Antananarivo.

On Celestial (Mapin, 2023) 
 “Here is the perfect companion to any stargazing app—Abhay K’s
delightful poem Celestial distills the poetic wisdom of the ages in
splendid rhyming couplets.”—Christopher Merrill, Poet, Director, International Writing Program,The University of Iowa 

“A litany to take us out of ourselves, into what Carl Sagan called
‘star stuff’, our ancient home!” —Gabriel Rosenstock, Poet, playwright, essayist, author, translator 

“These starry-eyed poems are born of a sorcery of voice and discovery,
and strike a delicate balance between solitude and waywardness.”
 Jayanta Mahapatra, Poet, translator
“Poetic inquiry at its finest... Celestial is a cultural gem,
a mystical ludus.”—Roula-Maria Dib, Poet, Director, London Arts-Based Research Centre

“Whether one is into stargazing for ‘frolicking with Regil Kentaurus’ or
for ‘ploughing the celestial bog’, Abhay K offers love-laced couplets of
stellar delight. One will read this book and find one’s poetic star.”—Ko Ko Thett, Poet, author, translator

“In Celestial, Abhay K. transposes the unfolding drama of
desire, passion, longing, restless quest, serenade, and communion from Earth into the heavens.” —Ranjit Hoskote, Poet, author 
On Stray Poems (Poetrywala, 2022)
 Abhay K. strikes such a cheerful, sensual and sunny note in
so many of his individual poems - and anthologies - that he

seems to be deliberately going against the grain of much artistic

expression today. He is not blind to man’s folly and cruelty, yet

optimism wins out in this cornucopia of stray poems. How

refreshing that he has chosen not to be dourly imitative but to

strike the anvil with a pure, ringing sound and rhythm all of his


—Gabriel Rosenstock, Poet, Ireland

Abhay K. is a trusted guide to modern poetry, to the journeys in

which we are seeking truth, peace and justice...feel the spirit of

God coursing through his lines.

—Indran Amirthanayagam, Poet, USA
On Monsoon (Sahitya Akademi, 2022)

“Abhay K.’s Monsoon is an extraordinarily lush work, full of
multisensory textures of the monsoon as it leaps across the Indian Ocean. It’s
almost edible, if that is not too strange a thing to say, but the sensations it
evokes are as much visceral as they are imaginative. ”
Katherine Butler Schofield, Senior
Lecturer, King’s College, London


“Abhay K.‘s Monsoon is simply magical. Loved the sheer beauty of it all. The read transported me to another world.  He is truly an amazing poet.” Pritish Nandy, Poet, India

“An Indian diplomat in Madagascar dreams like the exiled Yaksha of making the monsoon his Cloud Messenger (Meghaduta) to take a message to his beloved in the Himalayas.  As he instructs the monsoon, the sights, sounds and smells of the journey are evoked.  The monsoon ecosystem ties together the Indian Ocean world in a dense network of migration, trade and culture.  Travel with it on a mind-journey.” Rachel Dwyer, Professor Emerita, SOAS University of London


“There is a lushness and unapologetic voluptuousness in Abhay K.'s Monsoon which reminds us strongly of the immortal ancients.”—Gabriel Rosenstock, Poet, Ireland

On The Magic of Madagascar (L'Harmattan, Paris 2021)

‘In the haiku of Abhay K. I recognize a young voice fully capable of carrying my vision of the Liberated haiku into an unfolding 21st century that will need from its greatest writers poems in which every word matters and every thought will have in it the emotional resonance, strength and beauty that can serve us and sustain us through what is to come.  Here is a poet who casts blessings our way while also paving the road we travel, in language as durable as stone. Is there a greater heart in contemporary poetry? I do not know of one.’
Michael McClintock

clear sky
filled with stars 
—crickets’ cry

 “If haiku is the momentary cessation of time so that the natural world infuses our souls, then Abhay K. is a haikuist really worth noting. Exquisite haiku fresh from the source.” Dr. Mícheál Ó hAodha, University of Limerick, Ireland

'Abhay K’s first foray into haiku presents a kaleidoscopic vision of Madagascar, in all its glorious colours, tastes, smells and sounds. Infused with the author’s environmental awareness and his enthusiastic love of nature, this collection is both a treat for the senses and a wake-up call for us to appreciate what we have before it is too late.' Amanda Bell, Ireland


On The Alphabets of Latin America (Bloomsbury India, 2020)

The Alphabets of Latin America is a very original and thrilling book—a book that opens the borders of time and place, which is what seems so necessary now in this epoch of nationalist entrenchment and paranoia. —Forrest Gander, Winner, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 2019

"At a time when Latin America undergoes its worst crisis in a century, Indian poet Abhay K. reminds us in his vivid verses of the marvels of the lands of magical realism. Widely traveled across the Americas, from Bahia to Belmopan, he has taken it all in. His poem on the Rio Carnival by itself is worth the price of the book. Without missing a beat, his lines recreate the colors, the rhythms, and the pre-Columbian roots of a region  of vast, empty spaces that ache to be filled with words, as Neruda used to say. Abhay has done so with verve, gusto and brio, displaying a sensibility both ancient  and post-modern. A riveting read!"—Jorge Heine

‘These snapshot poems evoking the flora, fauna, landscape and history of a turbulent continent - memories of an observant poet-diplomat organized in playful alphabetic order from anacondas to a Borges mirror, the Nazca Lines of Peru to the quetzal, samba and tango, finishing in Mexico’s Plaza del Zócalo - are a glowing riot and a carnival all in themselves.’ Ruth Padel  

Latin Americans must be grateful, today
and always, for the Indian Abhay K. and this fundamental book. Armed with intelligence and sensitivity, with calculation and passion, The Alphabets of Latin America is a love poem that honors us as a society and culture. In these pages, poetry, as a way of thinking and a response to adversity, reaches breadth and mastery, depth and splendor. Our region’s past and present are approached not only as reading but also as experience, with the knowledge of cause and the authenticity of memory. What’s more, in these texts, narrative and lyric, intellectual rigor and formal play, description and reflection happily shake hands. Likewise, identification predominates over differentiation, and an essential link is established between Indians and Latin Americans: “A people, a tribe, a nation is destroyed, / only to reincarnate in another form.” Víctor Rodríguez Núñez 

The Alphabets of Latin America is a cornucopia of delights, written by a poet who has devoted time and attention to studying, recording, and capturing experiences of place. The book is dedicated to the great diplomat-poets of the past, and Abhay K follows in their footsteps. Many of the poems are devoted to the continent’s writers, and in interrogating their stories, Abhay K. is always thoughtful and ethical; for example in his poem about Pablo Neruda, he does not shy away from more problematic aspects of his biography. What is particularly striking is that while Abhay K. does not avoid hard truths (like exploitation by colonialism), he also celebrates the joy, the vivacity, the splendour, and beauty of Latin America in this comprehensive A to Z. These are sensuous, thoughtful, playful poems, which show great devotion to a continent, its peoples, its writers, and ways of living. — Zoe Brigley Thompson    
Abhay K’s Latin America ranges from the haunted elegies of Neruda’s Machu Picchu to the geometric precision of Niemeyer and Costa’s Brasília. Latin America has gone global now, and this Indian poet’s nimble and succinct alphabetical tour of it shows how essential Latin America is to world literature. The poet, “looking at the moon from Avenida Paulista/trying to feel the heartbeat of Latin America,” gives his own indelible perspective, yet also renders scenes in hive we can all participate.—Nicholas Birns, New York University

Abhay K. is India’s counterpart to Octavio Paz, the Mexican diplomatwriter whose poems on Indian cities, monuments, gods and culture introduced India to the Latin Americans. Abhay gives a poetic perspective of the vibrant Latin American spirit, their colorful culture, magical realism of the writers and motivates Indians with ‘Oh, do not say no…Let’s go to Rio’. —R. Vishwanathan

The Alphabets of Latin America takes us on a journey through the richness and variety of Latin America  with the passion and sensibility of Abhay K., a true friend of Latin Americans, in which he converses with the great poets of the region. Urban and rural, popular and erudite, traditional and modern: from Amazon to Zocalo, there are several Latin Americas depicted by the poet with a moving sensibility. –Mauricio Santoro, University of Rio de Janeiro

  On The Eight-eyed Lord of Kathmandu (Bloomsbury India 2018)

The geographies, both material and spiritual, of Nepal, the pinnacle of our world, have never been more lovingly rendered than in this, Abhay K’s splendid poetic sequence of praise, dazzlement, and wonder for a realm in which he sojourned as both a pilgrim and a friend.— Vijay Seshadri, Winner Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 2014

‘Abhay K. has a special gift. His poetic mission, rare today, is simply to praise. This poetic duty, described by Rilke as “Ein zum Rühmen Bestellter”, makes him, “the one whose task it is to praise”. To praise the earth, the fruits of the earth, the myriad manifestations of culture and history and geography, such praise requires faith, insight and compassion. Abhay K. has these qualities in abundance. His poems shimmer with a deep human appreciation of the gift of life and its fragile tapestry. I see them as Vedic hymns of praise in contemporary dress.’ —Gabriel Rosenstock, Irish Poet

In these rapturous poems (in The Eight-Eyed Lord Of Kathmandu) Abhay K catches the allure and mystique of Kathmandu; its maze of medieval streets, its thronged bazaars, its twilit courtyards. In these captivating poems I taste the aromas of its ancient alleyways and the drift of incense from its crumbling temples. I hear in them the raucous chant of its life. Abhay K is the all-seeing eye, the seer who brings to light a city and its people with a rare immediacy of speech and a boundless imaginative empathy.This young, visionary poet communes beautifully with his beloved Kathmandu. I am grateful for this superbly crafted, exquisitely achieved collection that chronicles the life and times of a city and a people dear to my heart.—Cathal O'Searcaigh

On The Seduction of Delhi (Bloomsbury India 2014)

Abhay K's poems serve up a Delhi, resplendent with character, torn asunder by marauders, patch-worked back several times with belief and faith - and above all saturated through with the touch of time and history.
The Times of India 

Abhay K.'s words don’t sit outside and observe. They dig in, making their subject their home, and then they turn outwards, watching the landscape, the people, the city, change. The city makes him feel, and these feelings seep into his words. 
The Hindu 

One may visit a city and one may live in it. To experience it as a presence and a history is more than either, and to experience it as poetry is sublime. Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities shows us Venice in many fantastical transformations. Abhay K’s Seduction of Delhi is not so much a city transformed as tenderly opened up and invited to commune with the world around it in both time and place. So, in the Places section of the book, the poem on Nehru Park presents us with a ‘blue moon in full bloom / birds transmuting into humans’ on a spot where ‘Nehru is in dialogue with Lenin / and the universe’ while among the Portraits we meet the ubiquitous auto rickshaws, each ‘a triangle-on wheels’ that criss-crosses Delhi like ‘a kite soaring against the wind’ that carries the city on its wings. The transformations are gentle and humane: the history is deep and lightly worn. This is a beautiful way to be introduced to a great city as both specific and essence. —George Szirtes, Poet, Winner T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry  

 Well crafted and imagined, these poems provide kaleidoscopic, impressionistic snapsnots of Delhi, readers in the East and West can easily access and believe. As if "whispering classified secrets," they establish their own "officialese"--their own lexicon for naming and navigating the scenes and settings they explore. All the while, Abhay K's poems meditate on what it means for landscape and memory to constantly reshape history and our experience of it. The many "edifices crumbling metamorphizing into boutiques" in this collection remind us of the importance of laying claim to the present so that we can step more confidently into the uncertain topography of the future.— Dorianne Laux

The poems in the three thematic lines, viz., Places, Portraits and Reflections, dovetail into one another to make Seduction of Delhi a remarkable, exciting book. Qualities of love, tenderness and compassion set Abhay K's work apart from much of the general run of current poetics. Like the River Yamuna, I too, felt its "dark silver/ draining darkness/ from Delhi's soul." Abhay K's poems speak from the heart in language that doesn't compromise. — Jayanta Mahapatra

The Seduction of Delhi is a greatly enjoyable collection of poems on Delhi. As someone in love with Delhi himself, I applaud Abhay for falling poetic prey to its seductions with such literary elegance and poise. Delhi needs its own balladeers. In Abhay K. it has found one. —Pavan K. Varma

 Delhi is a palimpsest city, serving as the capital of many empires over the course of history, and Abhay K. presents an architectural and social tour of the city through nimble poems which are imbued with a clear love of his subject.— Ravi Shankar, Award-winning Poet, Editor of Drunken Boat

 Abhay K. is a poet with talent and imagination.Dr. Karan Singh 

 Seduction of Delhi by Abhay K. is beautiful and engaging and surprises by the sheer variety of themes and structures it covers. Strong masculine rhythm exists in these poems along with deep, delicate lyricism that are nostalgic but rarely sad, full of intelligence and wit.A fine read. Bibhu Padhi

 Unfinished emblem of human ambition” is a poetic expression used by poet Abhay K in his poem “Alai Minar”. I think this expression sums up the character of all the short and unique poems compiled in this collection. Navigating through a poetic map of the great historical, chaotic and bustling metropolis is like making journeys back into times, and into the human psyche that is eternally torn between the power of space and what Martin Heidegger would call the most dynamic emblems of dwellings that rise and fall under sun and stars leaving sensations in history. Abhay K’s poems capture that very sensation in finely structured rhythmic forms. These poems capture the boisterous, aesthetically mad, chaotic and shifting history and transform theminto quiet moments of lyrical meditations. Abhi Subedi, Poet, Playwright, Professor of English, Tribhuvan University, Nepal 

Delhi has been widely described as a dry, energy draining place, even a hermaphrodite... Abhay K.'s attempt here proves it otherwise. At first glance, his short, epigrammatic poems might appear just flaccid snapshots or single-boned vignettes of an outsider in a mad and sprawling metropolis known these days for its infamous gang rapes. But a closer look reveals how the poet steps back to withdraw his Self into a cocoon, to gain an artistic poise and to empower each and every item, object, relic, monument and figure a distinct voice and color. Lal Quila, Janter Manter, a flower girl, an auto rickshaw, Connaught Place, a house maid, Rahim, Jamun tree, Ghalib or Dara Shikoh walk with their first person personas in the lanes of Abhay K.'s Delhi, conjuring a memorable recital, a jam that defines the essence of this legendary city... Seduction of Delhi is an artistic triumph in many ways... Yuyutsu RD Sharma,Author of Annapurna Poems and Nepal Trilogy Visiting poet, New York University, New York 

 Poetry is the genre of Delhi, and Abhay K.'s poems offer heartfelt homage to both the tradition and the place. —Tabish Khair, Poet, Novelist and Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Arahus, Denmark 

 Seduction of Delhi captures not only the historical landscape of the Dilli of legend but also the contemporary feel of sarkari New Delhi. It's obvious that Abhay K. has managed to distill years of observation and emotion into these poems. — Krishan Pratap Singh, Author of The Raisina Series

On Remains (Har Anand Publications 2012)

Abhay K.’s words are gentle letters from his heart—sincere, soulful, earnest, and full of childlike wonder. His concerns range from love, quest, and questioning, to cutting tracks and treading water over multitudinous terrain and geographies. His poetic journey always remains pure, effervescent, and innocence-filled.—Sudeep Sen, Poet and Editor of The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry 

 Abhay K.'s poems are reflective, informed by a grave concern for a planet endangered by its own dominant species, yet vibrant with a measured optimism.— Ranjit Hoskote, Poet, Art Critic, Cultural Theorist 

 Abhay K.'s poetry gives Indian English Poetry a fundamentally new supranational character. — Irina Burova, Professor of History of Foreign Literature, St. Petersburg State University 

 Abhay K. is a voyager-poet who dives deep into the recesses of the times, as he journeys to uncover the mist over the fading impressions. His poetry, woven in simple narrative and absorbing images, is of great interest to many of us. — H. K. Kaul, President, The Poetry Society (India)  

Abhay K.’s vision of a world without war and destruction, humanity living as one harmonious community, the importance of the prevalence of happiness to ensure a better world of tomorrow, his ruminations on immortality and the impermanence of worldly things and his luminous meditations on beauty will certainly find resonance in the hearts of like-minded, sensitive readers.—A. J. Thomas, Poet and Editor Indian Literature 

 The flow of energy in Abhay’s poems is lyrical as well as reflective. Words carried in sure waves gather on the banks of experience, striking meaning suggestively. This, if only to be washed away the next moment into the ocean in search of greater truths…there are remains of promises, that of more and more of poetry from him.—Sukrita Paul Kumar, Poet & Critic 

 Abhay K. manages to evoke both a smile and tear, with sheer lyrical spontaneity and subjective/thematic honesty and candour; his poetry is most redolent of earthly smell of his roots.—Gautam Chakrabarty, Germany

  Abhay K. is a golden Voice of New India.—Prof. Irina Burova, St. Ptersburg, Russia

 "Abhay K. is a wanderer on the divine path." —Prof. Guzel Strelkova, Moscow, Russia


On Candling the Light (Yash Publishers 2011)

 Abhay K.'s poems are soothingly optimistic considering the tension fraught world we live in, they appear like intimate conversations of the poet with himself and the world.— K. Satchidanandan, Sahitya Akademi Awardee, Literary Critic ( In Indian Literature (268), March/April 2012, Sahitya Akademi Bimonthly Journal, page 258-260) 

  Abhay K.’s poems ring with the sincerity of a deeply felt concern for a better future for the human species. In the nourishing of a new, planetary consciousness based on sharing and responsibility, rather than greed and competition, Abhay K. believes that poetry can play an important role."—Makaran R. Paranjape, Poet, Critic, and Professor of English Literature, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 

 Abhay K.'s poems confront with the smell and feel of a person, place or thing and create a resonance like the ringing of bells or like a gentle breeze on a hot desert afternoon. What is characteristic of the poems in this collection is a pristine kind of simplicity devoid of too much artifice. — H.S. Shivaprakash, Poet, Playwright , Director,Tagore Centre, Berlin, Sahitya Akademi Awardee.  

On Art Works Of Abhay K.

"Abhay's art works address realized worldly issues with a sense of introspection." —RAJEEV LOCHAN, Director, National Gallery of Modern Art, India 

  "The coming together of poem and image, their drawing apart and resumption of mutual approach, the things they invoke together and separately: we savour all these moments of aesthetic experience in The Seduction of Delhi, a folio in which Abhay K and Tarshito collaborate to evoke the spectral yet palpable histories of Delhi, as well as its vibrant, insistent, kaleidoscopic and paradoxical present." —RANJIT HOSKOTE, Poet, Cultural Theorist and Curator  

"What I find fascinating about art works of Abhay K is that he goes from very individual signs to broader symbols. A number of his works remind of Cubists. Others remind of pointillism but they way he blends them all together is his own." —SUNEET CHOPRA, Art Critic 

 "The geometry of Malevich and the musical coloured vision of Matyushin gain typical Indian colour vibrancy and even somewhat folklore inflections in his abstract and semi-abstract works." —ANDREY KHLOBYSTYN 

 "In his art works Abhay K. creates an allegory of planetary consciousness -Emblems of the unity of the peoples. He draws images of spiritual unity. A futuristic reworking of figurative and suprematic motives." —STANISLAV SAVITSKY