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Vazirani, Reetika 1962-2003

VAZIRANI, Reetika 1962-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born August 9, 1962, in Patiala, Punjab, India; committed suicide July 16, 2003, in Chevy Chase, MD. Educator and author. Vazirani was considered a promising new poet whose first two books were award winners. She came to the United States with her family in 1967, graduating from Wellesley College with a B.A. in 1994 and earning her M.F.A. from the University of Virginia three years later. She was working as an instructor at the University of Virginia when her first poetry collection, White Elephants, was released in 1996. The book earned the Barnard New Women Poets Prize that year; her second book, World Hotel (2002), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Vazirani's poetry often speaks of her childhood and the experience of being an immigrant in the United States. She was employed as a writer-in-residence at Sweet Briar College from 1998 to 2000, and in 2002 became writer-in-residence at William and Mary College. Shortly before her death she accepted a position with the faculty at Emory University, which she was scheduled to assume in the fall of 2003. Vazirani, who was reportedly engaged in a troubled marriage to Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, apparently killed her fifteen-month-old son and then committed suicide, according to investigators.



Writers Directory, 18th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2003.


Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, GA), July 18, 2003, p. F6.

Times (London, England), July 19, 2003, p. 22.

Washington Times, July 24, 2003, p. B2.

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