Mani Rao (b.1965 India) is a poet, translator and independent scholar.

She has nine books of poetry including New & Selected Poems(Poetrywala), Echolocation (Math Paper Press) and Ghostmasters (Chameleon Press), and two books in translation from Sanskrit including Bhagavad Gita as a poem (Autumn Hill Books and Fingerprint), and Kalidasa for the 21st Century Reader(Aleph Books). Her latest book Living Mantra— Mantra, Deity and Visionary Experience Today (Palgrave Macmillan 2019) is an anthropology of mantra-experience among tantric practitioners in south India.

Her poems and essays are published or forthcoming in journals including Poetry Magazine, Wasafiri, Meanjin, Washington Square, Fulcrum, West Coast Line, Interim and Colorado Review, and in anthologies including The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, Zoland Poetry, W.W.Norton’s Language for a New Century, Penguin’s Sixty Indian Poets, and the Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets.

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

She has held residencies at the Iowa International Writing Program (2005 and 2009), the University of Iowa International Programs (2006), and Omi Ledig House (2018).

Mani has an MFA in Creative Writing from UNLV (2010), and a PhD in Religious Studies from Duke University (2016).

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