Bhubaneswar, Dec 15:
Jnanapith award winning poet and author Sitakanta Mohapatra was conferred with the prestigious Kendiya Sahitya Akademi fellowship on Saturday. The fellowship was given away by Akademi president Biswanath Prasad Tiwari at a function at the IDCOL auditorium here.
Only 21 litterateurs in the country have received the coveted fellowship at present.
In his acceptance speech, Mohapatra said the fellowship was an honour for Odia language and literature.
Dedicating the fellowship to Kavyaguru Jagannth Das and saint poet Bhima Bhoi, Mohapatra said reading the ‘Bhagabata’ in the morning and listening to Bhima Bhoi’s bhajans in the evening in childhood helped him become a poet.
Poetry, he said, is an exercise in knowing oneself and his times and that is what he has tried to do all his life. “Words are at the heart of poetry and that is why I have always laid emphasis on the purity of language in all my writing,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Akademi president Biswanath Prasad Tiwari said it was an honour for the Akademi to present the fellowship to Mohapatra. “The writings of poets makes events and places immortal,” he said.
Prafulla Mohanty, Basanta Kumar Panda and Aparna Mohanty discussed Mohapatra’s poetry.
Earlier, Akademi secretary K Srinivas delivered the welcome address while Gourahari Das, convenor of the Odia Advisory Council of the Akademi proposed the vote of thanks at the end.
‘Rotations of Unending Times,’ the English version of Mohapatra’s Odia book translated by Sura P Rath and Mark Hallperin, was released on the occasion.