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Hall of Fame : Rayaprol's tryst with poetry

Hall of Fame : Rayaprol
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Some of Srinivas Rayaprol's best writings were during this golden period, when he made friends with many literate individuals having similar...

Some of Srinivas Rayaprol's best writings were during this golden period, when he made friends with many literate individuals having similar interests, like Ken Pettitt from UC, Berkeley. Later, Ken went on to promote the sales of his books in Berkeley, after they were published. His contemporaries at Stanford and Berkeley included many famous personalities like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Piloo Mody
hal2Dr Manorama Kanuri Srinivas Rayaprol was born on October 25, 1925, as the third child of the grand old man of modern Telugu poetry, Rayaprolu Subba Rao and his genteel wife Varalakshmi. As a young man growing up in Secunderabad, his early foray into poetry was influenced by the nostalgic memories and hang-out joints like Plaz a and Tivoli cinemas, Monty's Bar, parade grounds, Marredpally cricket club, among others. His poetic lineage and deep sensitive nature, contributed to further writings, sitting on the banks of the Ganges, while studying engineering in Banaras Hindu University. Halfway through his engineering studies, he won a scholarship from the Indian Government to study B.S and M.S. in Civil engineering at Stanford University, California. During this period, the America of the 1940s had made a significant impact on his inherent poetic skills. The Hollywood adventures which had started in Plaza and Tivoli cinemas, continued to have an exciting impact on him, while he was located in San Francisco, being so close to Los Angeles. His favourites were Humphrey Bogart, Jane Fonda, Bridgette Bardot and of course, Marilyn Monroe. Some of his best writings were during this golden period, when he made friends with many literate individuals having similar interests, like Ken Pettitt from UC, Berkeley. Later, Ken went on to promote the sales of his books in Berkeley, after they were published. His contemporaries at Stanford and Berkeley included many famous personalities like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Piloo Mody. His work was greatly influenced by the famous American Poet, William Carlos Williams, whom he got to meet and later maintained a regular correspondence with. The letters exchanged between the two were by themselves of great literary value, and have found a place among the works of William Carlos Williams at the University of Austin's library. After his return to India in the early 1950s, he married the granddaughter of Dr Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya, the famous historian, freedom fighter and founder of Andhra Bank. The letters exchanged with Pattabhi, also had great literary value. In his early married years, he published a journal called "East and West" which figured the works of young poets from Hyderabad and Secunderabad, among others. This journal was later discontinued for various reasons, one among them being his busy life as a Civil Engineer in the AP Government. He published his first book 'Bones and Distances' at this time. His professional and formal name was RS Marthandam and he excelled in his profession, showing high levels of commitment, sincerity and scientific acumen, setting high standards, right to the end of his career. He had three daughters and three granddaughters. Intermittent spurts of poetry surfaced during different periods of his life, like when he was posted in Nizamabad during the early seventies, when he was alone and had plenty of time for looking inwards. It was a result of these works that his second book 'Married Love and Other' Poems emerged, published by the Writers Workshop at Calcutta after a deep friendship with P Lal. His third book 'Selected Poems' was also published by P Lal. Post retirement in 1983, he again had the time and inclination to resume his writings. A poem written on reaching 70, urged Dom Moraes to write about him, a half page article in HINDU, with regret that he was not given his due. He passed away in 1998 after a car accident, which resulted in a brain injury. Two years later, while my late mother and elder sister Anuradha were also present, the Srinivas Rayaprol Literary Trust was started in the year 2000 to perpetuate the memory of the poet, Srinivas Rayaprol (a.k.a. R.S. Marthandam, 1925-1998), who was one of the significant personalities of the early Indian English Poetry in India. The trust decided to start a poetry prize on his name. The inaugural prize was awarded in 2009 to Aditi Machado and, subsequently, to Hemant Mohapatra (2010) and Aditi Rao (2011) and Tushar Jain (2013). (Writer is the daughter of Srinivas Rayaprol) [email protected]
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