Sumita Chakraborty (b. 1987, Nyack, New York) was awarded the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation in 2017. She describes her ideal poem as one that ‘will write into being a world that already in some way exists’.
Her shortlisted poem, ‘And death demands a labor’, takes its title from a line of Rilke’s. She has described it as an ‘imagined elegy’ for her father. ‘After having hassled at it unsuccessfully for years’, she says, ‘one evening I walked back into my apartment after a full and ordinary day, sat down on my bed and rewrote it in a single go.’
Chakraborty has recently completed and sent off both the manuscript of her first full collection, O Spirit, and her Ph.D. thesis for Emory University, Georgia.