Award-winning poet Ravi Shankar entered the world of academia after earning his MFA from Columbia University. He discovered that professorship allowed him to more fully engage with his creative practice and analyze pedagogical practices and philosophies, all while helping budding writers rigorously work on their craft.
Since 1998 Ravi Shankar has held roles as a professor at numerous colleges along the East Coast. Engaging in topical teaching and discussion alongside meta examinations of pedagogy in and out of classrooms, Ravi is determined to constantly challenge himself and grow his own knowledge of the ever-changing world of literary education.
Ravi Shankar currently teaches for the New York Writers Workshop, an alliance of published authors and professional writers who apply an egalitarian philosophy to education: writers of all levels and all ages should have the opportunity to develop their craft, sharpen their communication skills, and receive guidance from industry professionals on how to get their work published or performed. Yet Ravi believes that in order to learn and to grow, writers must be willing to be challenged, even disturbed by the dialogues they encounter — in order to feed their overall understanding.
Prior to joining the New York Writers Workshop, Ravi Shankar was a Tenured Full Professor, Poet-in-Residence and Co-Director of the Creative Writing Minor in the English Department of Central Connecticut State University. He was also a faculty member of the first international MFA program at City University of Hong Kong. Ravi has also taught at Columbia University, Fairfield University, and Queens College.
Ravi has taught classes for numerous American writers conferences, including the Wesleyan Writers Conference (the United States’ oldest summer writing conference), the Jackson Hole Writers Conference and the Stonecoast Writers Conference.
He has also taught internationally. In 2011 he taught English Literature and Humanities in Eastern Mediterranean University, Northern Cyprus’ most internationally recognized university. Earlier in his career, Ravi Shankar was a GMAT Test Preparatory Instructor in Munich/Köln, Germany, where he taught grammar reviews and mock exam questions for non-native English speakers.
Ravi Shankar’s first foray into teaching was through a Volunteer Teacher position at an elementary school in Charlottesville, Virginia. His next role was Writing Teacher at Bank Street University, where he taught a writing workshop to inner-city high school students.
Ravi Shankar’s Poetry
Ravi Shankar is a celebrated poet who has written more than 10 books or chapbooks of poetry, including Deepening Groove, Andal: The Autobiography of a Goddess, The Golden Shovel Anthology, and others. He has won the National Poetry Review Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and other accolades. Much of his work focuses on explorations of identity and the intercultural dialogue, which are themes that Ravi understands from personal experience: He was born in Virginia but grew up speaking only the South Asian Tamil language and spent several formative years of his childhood living in India. As a result, Ravi Shankar hopes to improve the one-dimensional portrayal of Asian and Middle Eastern characters in Western art and literature through his poetry, and he hopes to inspire more honest representations of peoples around the world.
In 1999 Ravi founded Drunken Boat, an electronic journal of the arts, which contributes to literary education and awareness in its own way. In the words of The Review Review: “Drunken Boat is, or should be, central to any discussion of literature online or online literature … Drunken Boat is a … beautifully presented, carefully maintained space.”
When not traveling the world to teach or promote his new books, Ravi Shankar lives with his family in Providence, Rhode Island.