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Mani Rao (b.1965 India) is the author of eight poetry books and a translation of the Bhagavad Gita.

Her poems and essays are published in journals including Tinfish, Wasafiri, Meanjin, Washington Square, Fulcrum, West Coast Line, and Interim, and in anthologies including Zoland Poetry, WWNorton's Language for a New Century, Penguin's 60 Indian Poets, and the BloodAxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets.

She has performed at literary festivals including the Age Melbourne Writers' Festival, Vancouver Asian Heritage Month, Chicago Humanities Festival, New York PEN World Voices, Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival, and Singapore International Poetry Festival. Translations of her poems have been published in Latin, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, French and German.

She was a Visiting Fellow at the Iowa International Writing Program in 2005 and 2009, and the 2006 University of Iowa International Programs writer-in-residence.

Mani has an MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a phD student of Religion at Emory University.




















Visiting Fellow at the 2005 Iowa International Writing Program, University of Iowa.

University of Iowa International Programs 2006 Writer-in-Residence.

Witter-Bynner award for Bhagavad Gita - a translation of the poem.



Bhagavad Gita - A Translation of the Poem. USA: Autumn Hill Books, 2010.

Ghostmasters. Hong Kong: Chameleon Press, 2010.

Mani Rao:100 Poems (Selected Poems 1985-2005). Hong Kong: Chameleon Press, 2006.

Echolocation. Hong Kong: Chameleon Press, 2003.

Salt. Hong Kong: Asia 2000, 2000.

The Last Beach. Hong Kong: Asia 2000, 1999. Bilingual with Chinese translation. Trans. Huang Chan Lan.

Living Shadows. Bilingual with Chinese translation. Trans. Huang Chan Lan. Drawings Mani Rao. Hong Kong: HK Arts Development Council, 1997.

Catapult Season. Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 1993.

Wing Span. Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 1987.


IN JOURNALS (from 2005)


"Peace Treaty," "Ding Dong Bell," and "Iliad Blues." Mascara (Forthcoming 2010)

Poems "My Pumpkin's Miscarriages," "Shots," "Five-word poem," "Grand Finale" and "Address" in Indian Literature (Forthcoming 2010)

"Postcard Aphrodite." Colorado Review. USA. Print. (Forthcoming 2010)

Essay “Automatic Writing – Real, Surreal, Indeterminate.” Fulcrum (Issue 7). USA. Print.( Forthcoming 2010)

Poem-essay “Lorine Niedecker Condens.” Interim. USA. Using only Niedecker’s words and her poetic principles, a condensary of her volume of collected works into six pages. USA. Print.

Essay "Caterpillar to Butterfly: Thoreau's dietary journey." Thoreau Society Bulletin (Issue 270, Spring 2010). USA. Print.

"Geocity." Holly Rose Review. USA. Web.

"Questions of Travel." 91st Meridian (Spring 2010). USA. Web. Text of presentation at IWP panel.

"Father's Day." Cordite 'Epic' issue. Australia. Web.

"Mobius" and "ø." Caravan India Magazine (Vol 2. Issue 01, Jan 2010). India. Print and Web.


Excerpts from translation of the Bhagavad Gita, essay "Repetitiveness in Gita translations" and translator's note in eXchanges (Winter 2009). USA. Web.

Fifteen poems from the manuscripts of Gods R Us and Ghostmasters. Almost Island (Monsoon 2009). India. Web.

Essay “Decoding Augustine via Saussure.” In-Between Journal of Literary Criticism (April 2009). 131-139. India. Print.

Poem “Ganga Jump” in Desilit (2009) retelling the legend of Ganga. USA. Web.

Poems “Classic,” “Tensile,” “So That You Know,” “The Other Half.” Indian Literature (2009). India. Print.

Poems “Sporous,” “End of Scene,” “Bird Union,” “Shots.” Softblow. Singapore. Web.


Poems “Bird Union,” “Pol Pot,” “Slough.” Kavya Bharati (No.20, 2008). India. Print.

“Sol,” a five-poem series. Tinfish (Issue 18, 2008). 8-13. USA. Print.

Essay “Stretch.” XCP (Issue 20, Summer 2008). 102-106. USA. Print.

“Sometimes a voice …” and “Something kids see …” Holly Rose Review (2008). USA. Web.

“Sequence.” Oxford Magazine (Issue 22, April 2008). USA. Web.

"Slough," "En Route" and "Pol Pot." Asia Literary Review, Hong Kong. (Autumn 2008). 07-09. Hong Kong. Print.

“When? Soon.” Carapace. (2008). South Africa. Print.


“Epitaph” and “Calling.” Zoland Poetry. Ed. Roland Pease. USA: Steerforth Press, 2007. 23-25. Print.

“Airing at a sniff.” XCP (Summer 2007). 63. USA. Print.

Note in “Ten writers on their mothertongue.” 91st Meridien (Issue 5.2 Spring 2007). USA. Web.

“Star-crossed.” Meanjin. (March 2007). 27. Australia. Print.

“The Void Plate,” “Mutations,” and “Star-crossed.” Asian Cha. Hong Kong. Web.


“Grand Finale” and “Address.” Quay Journal (2006). USA. Web.

“Chorus,” “Ebri,” and “Catching Up” with Latin trans. Adrienne Ho. 91st Meridien. (Issue 4.2 winter 2006.) USA. Web.

Essay “Cuntree.” 91stmeridien (Issue 4.2 winter 2006). USA. Web.

Essay “Writing to Stop.” 91stmeridien (Issue 4.2 winter 2006). USA. Web.

Essay “Cuntree.” WestCoastLINE (Issue 39/1, 2006). 27. Canada. Print.

“Back from the markets of lust,” and “Eyes are emissaries.” Iowa Review (Aug 2006). 66-67. USA. Print.

Short story “Junket.” The Daily Palette of the University of Iowa(19 March 2006). USA. Web.

“Drought.” How2 (Vol 2-4, 2006). USA. Web.

“Indian Innovation.” Ed. Mani Rao. HOW2 (Vol 2-4, 2006). USA. Web.

“Axe,” “So that you know.” The Fourth River. (Vol 2, Spring 2006). 69-70. USA. Print.

“Pol Pot,” “Visited.” Washington Square. (2006). 58. USA. Print.

“India Song.” Penumbra. (April 2006). 18. India. Print.

Short Story “Which way does the river flow?” The Asia Literary Review. (Spring 2006, Vol. I). 38-39. Hong Kong. Print.

Essay “Cuntree.” Nethra. (Sep-Dec 2006). 25-29. Sri Lanka. Print.

Seven poems. Openspaceindia. (2006). India. Web.

“Re-incarnation kaleidoscope,” “Auto” and “Metro.” Filling Station. (2006). 22. Canada. Print.

Poems. Harvest International. (Issue 32, Fall/Winter 2006). 21-23. USA. Print.

Short Story “Which Way does the River Flow?” In Posse Review on webdelsol. (Fall 2006). USA. Web.

Review of John Mateer's “Ancient Capital of Images.” Verse magazine (2006). USA. Web.

Three poems with Italian trans. Antonio Padula. Le Voci Della Luna. (March 2006). 5. Italy. Print.

“Haul,” and “Testament.” Wasafiri (Issue 49, 2006). 27-28. U.K. Print.

“Epitaph,” “Route” and “Sporous.” Chandrabhaga (2006). 72-76. India. Print.

Twelve poems. Kritya. (Vol.1 part 10, March 2006). India. Web.

Two poems from “Echolocation” with Italian trans. Andrea Galli. Wikispaces. (2006).

Thirty poems and multi-media. Papertiger. (Issue 05, 2006). Indonesia. Web and Disc.


Seven poems. Give the Sea Change and It Shall Change: Fifty-Seven Indian Poets. Ed. Jeet Thayil. Boston, USA: Fulcrum 04, 2005. 289-292. Print.

Three poems. Nth Position (July 2005). U.K. Web.

“Slough.” Meanjin. (Vol.64 Nos.1/2 2005). Australia. Print.

Three poems. JAAM. (Issue 23, 2005). 56. New Zealand. Print.

Eight poems. Kritya. (Vol.1 part 3, August 2005). India. Web.

Essay “Halloween.”Dimsum. (Vol 10, Spring 2005). 89. Hong Kong. Print.

Several poems. Dimsum. (Vol 1, No2, 1999). Hong Kong. Print.

Article “Soul Rebel.” Interview with Bernardine Evaristo on her verse-novel “Soul Tourists.” South China Morning Post. (7 August 2005). Hong Kong. Print.

Essay “Halloween.” Nanyang Arts Monthly. (July 2005). Singapore. Print.

Several poems in Arabic trans. Sayed Gouda. Akhbar-Al-Adab. (2005). Cairo. Print.



“Drought,” “Bird Union.” Poets of the American West. Ed. Lowell Jaeger. USA: Many Voices Press, 2010.

“My mother …” in Not A Muse. Eds. Viki Holmes, Kate Rogers. Hong Kong: Haven Books, 2009.

“The sky is fitted linen…”Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond. Ed Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal, Ravi Shankar. USA: WW Norton, 2008.

Seven poems. The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. Ed. Jeet Thayil. UK: BloodAxe, 2008.

Seven poems. Sixty Indian Poets. Ed. Jeet Thayil. New Delhi, India: Penguin, 2008.

Essay “Writing to Stop.” Atlas 02. Ed. Sudeep Sen. UK: Aark Arts, 2007.

Essay “The Final Solution.” Fifty-Fifty, an anthology of Hong Kongwriting. Ed. Xu Xi. Hong Kong: Haven Books, 2008.

“Axe” and “The Sky is Fitted…” Kritya, An Anthology of Poetry. Ed. Rati Saxena. Trivandrum, India: Kritya, 2007. 73-74.

“ Slough.” Trash. Ed. John Knechtel. Toronto, Canada: Alphabet City, 2006. 280-281.

Six poems. Hongkong Poems. Ed. Louise Ho and Klaus Stierstorfer. Trans. Monika Gomille et al. Tuebingen, Germany: Stauffenburg Verlag, 2006. 307-321.

“War is a place…” The Other Voices International Project Anthology. Ed: Roger Humes. USA: Paula Brown Publishing, 2006. 27.

Essay “Cuntree” and Short Story “Junket.” H.K.I.D, Stories from the City's Hidden Writers. Ed. Dania Shawwa. Hong Kong: Haven Books, 2006. 73-82.

Four poems.Poetry Live! Anthology of poetry for Hong Kong schools. Ed. Peter Gordon, David Mckirdy. Hong Kong: Chameleon Press, 2005. 30, 44, 50.

“Sheltering Sky.” Reaching Out For Peace. Ed. and trans. Joon-Soo-Bong. Seoul, Korea: Minumsa, 2005. Poem holograph in a permanent exhibit at the Manhae Museum in Seoul.

“Shun the…” and “Watch out!” Honoring Fathers. Ed. Gemino Al Abad and Alfred A Yuson. Manila, Philippines: The University of the Philippines Press, 2005. 60.

“Cantread,” “Somewhere in vacuum” and “Let us move…” City Voices, Hong Kong writing in English, 1945 to present. Ed. Xu Xi, Mike Ingham. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2003. 324, 345.

“The sky is fitted linen …,” “The man without a shadow,” “Sheltering Sky.” OutLoud, An anthology of poetry from OutLoud readings. Ed. Alan Jefferies, Christopher Kelen, Mani Rao, et al. Foreword by Dino Mahoney. Hong Kong: XtraLoud Press, 2002. 108-110.

“Ombres Vivantes,” French translation of Living Shadows. CityPoetry 2001, Poetry, Documentation, Essays. Trans.Gérard Henry. Chan Chi Tak. Hong Kong: Fringe Festival, 2001. 60-67.

“Let us Move…” Moving Poetry. Ed. Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Page Richards. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2001. 103.



American Literary Translators Association, 2010. Panel on translating ancient texts: "Grave Robbers"

Asian Writers Conference, Asian World Center Creighton University. April 2009, and r eading at Brownville Festival.

ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association), Harvard, April 2009. "Cuntree" in seminar on "Language and Politics."

Vegas Valley Book Festival, Las Vegas, Nov 2008 and First Friday Las Vegas.

Zoland Poetry reading at Bowery Poetry Club, AWP New York City, Feb 2008.

Kritya International Poetry Festival. Thiruvananthapuram, India. July 2007.

PEN World Voices New York. Reading at event HOWL for fifty years event commemorating Ginsberg. New York, April 2006.

Translating across Borders. Poetry Reading and Panel Chatham University Pittsburgh, October 2005.

Chicago Humanities Festival. Chicago, November 2005.

Vancouver Asian Heritage Month. A reading tour in British Columbia, Canada, including readings at Vancouver Public Library, Simon Fraser University Burnaby, and at venues in Richmond, Surrey and Victoria. Reading at the launch of “Red Silk, Anthology of Poetry by South Asian Canadians.” Canada, May 2005.

Cairo Atelier. Hong Kong poets tour. Cairo, March 2004.

The Age Melbourne Writers Festival. Melbourne, July 2004.

Wordfeast Singapore International Poetry Festival. Readings, panels, and poetry workshops at schools. Singapore, January 2004.

The Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival. Readings and panels. Hong Kong, April 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. Authors-in-schools program, 2007.

Hong Kong British Council Eye on Books. Hong Kong, 1998.

“City Poetry” at the City Festival. Hong Kong, 1999, 2000, 2001.

OTHER: India: Crossword Bangalore, PEN Mumbai, Akshara bookstore Secunderabad. Singapore: Substation, Zouk Club. Hong Kong: Fringe Club, Visage Free, Steps, Jazz Club, Chinese University of Hong Kong “Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry '01”; Hong Kong University, Hong Kong Baptist University, Poetry Summer at Hong Kong Book Fair '04. USA: Prairie Lights Iowa City, Spencer Iowa and other venues in Iowa, Clark County Public Library Las Vegas, WordUp Las Vegas, Contemporary Arts Center Las Vega and other.



Host for “Time for Poetry” on RTHKRadio 4. Hong Kong’s first poetry radio segment. Interviewed George Bowering (Canada), Fred Wah (Canada), Wendy Morton (Canada), Corey Frost (Canada), Bernardine Evaristo (U.K), Sharon Hass (Israel), Kiwao Nomura (Japan), Marjan Stroyan (Slovenia), John Kinsella (Australia/U.K), Edi Shukriu (Albania), Ted Mathys (USA), John Mateer (Australia), Sampurna Chattarji (India), PK Leung (Hong Kong) and Rachel Woskin (USA/China). Readings or notes on Keats, Borges, Donne, Williams, Sappho, Sylvia Plath, Homer. Reading from Cesar Vallejo, Theodore Roethke, selections from Polish poetry. Review of Madeleine Marie Slavick’s “Delicate Access.” Aired from June 2005 to December 2005.

Co-founder of OutLoud,Hong Kong's poetry reading series. Started in 1997, OutLoud continues to be a highlight of Hong Kong’s literary scene. OutLoud published an anthology of Hong Kong poetry in English and hosted poetry-based events and panels at the annual Hong Kong International Literary festival in its first three years.

Installations at CityPoetry Hong Kong. Part of the City Festival 2000 organised by the Fringe Club, Hong Kong. CityPoetry 2000 was a collaboration between poets and artists to bring text out into public spaces. Event co-organiser along with Zoe Li. Co-editor of the CityPoetry anthology. Installations included graffiti art “Anal Analyst” at Fringe Club toilets, stencil window-display of a poem at Staunton Café in collaboration with designer Amber T Matthews. (2000)

Installation at Hong Kong Fringe Festival. “The Writing On the Wall,” graffiti art at the atrium of the Hong Kong Arts Center. (1997)

Poemcards. Designed and produced poem-based postcards for the 1997 Group of Restaurants and Bars, who sponsored the production and distributed the cards at all their outlets. Hong Kong, 1996.

Exhibition of six flash video films based on poems from “Salt.” Directed by Viswas Kulkarni and originally featured on nungu.com. Exhibited at the Fringe Club, Hong Kong, 2003.

Poetry-Music collaboration with DJ and drummer Spiro integrating voice, music and sound. Hong Kong, 2007. Selection hosted on this site.

Teaching Creative Writing at the University of Hong Kong’s Moving Poetry. Ten poets led a series of summer workshops for 150 schoolchildren. Hong Kong, 2004, 2002, 2001.