Srikanth Reddy is a poet and literary scholar on faculty in the English Department at the University of Chicago. Reddy’s Creative Capital project, Underworld Lit, will be published by Wave Books in August 2020. He is the author of Voyager, named one of the best books of poetry in 2011 by The New Yorker, The Believer, and National Public Radio; and his first collection, Facts for Visitors, won the 2005 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. Reddy’s poetry and criticism have appeared in Harper’s, The Guardian (UK), The New York Times, Poetry, and numerous other venues. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and is currently Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.
From the Journal
Srikanth Reddy is a poet and literary scholar on faculty in the English Department at the University of Chicago.Artist Bio
Underworld Lit is a book-length poem, cast in the form of lecture notes for an imaginary course in the humanities. In this work, Srikanth Reddy explores academic satire, a survivor’s memoir, translations from obscure works of world literature and a Borgesian journey through the underworlds of various cultures. Accompanied by a class full of skeptical students, the quixotic protagonist, haunted by the prospect of perpetual night, undertakes to scale the Tower of Babel that is world literature, and learns in the process that learning itself may count for precious little in the final reckoning. “Contrary to the accounts of Mu Lian, Odysseus and Kwasi Benefo,” this speaker discovers, “it is not customarily permitted to visit the underworld. No, the underworld visits you.”