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Arts & Culture

Ohio's First Poet Laureate Begins Post This Week

Amit Majmudar
Statehouse News Bureau
Amit Majmudar

Ohio's first Poet Laureate begins his two-year term on Friday, and he has roots in both the Far East and Northeast Ohio. Nuclear Radiologist Amit Majmudar was appointed by Gov. Kasich due to the variety of poetry styles he’s worked in. The 36-year-old Indian-American lives near Columbus, but he grew up in Mayfield, went to the University of Akron and NEOMED and did his residency at University Hospitals.  He calls the post both an honor and a responsibility.
 
“How the post works and what the duties will be; what the structure will be: I’ll be kind of structuring the post as I go.  And I consider that almost like an impetus to be the best Poet Laureate that I can possibly be.”
 
Majmudar says he wants to re-establish poetry as an integral part of Ohio's arts communities.  His first project is an extended poem that fuses Hindu mythology with stories of metamorphosis.  And he'll be working on the performance with his wife, a classically trained Indian dancer.
 
“Historically, poetry has done best when it’s been linked to another art form.  So in a Shakespeare play, that is basically poetry linked to drama and linked to song.  That’s probably [how] I’m going to go about it: pursuing collaborations between poets and musicians, poets and theater people [and] poets and dancers.”
 
Majmudar's work has appeared in numerous publications, and he's published two novels.  His next collection of poems, Dothead, comes out in March.