|Roshan Doug - Poet Laureate|
Roshan Doug was born in 1963. He was educated at the University of Lancaster. He read English and Political History followed by MA postgraduate studies in Modern English Literature at the University of Nottingham where he was also a Residential Tutor. Since then, he has travelled extensively throughout Europe and South America and has taught English at the University of Athens.
Roshan is Poet in Residence at Dudley College, a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham and a tutor in Poetry at the University of Wolverhampton. He is an English Examiner for the NEAB, his poetry is being considered for inclusion in the GCSE syllabus (2002), and he is an Academic Consultant to private schools in Oxford and London. He is also the Arts Editor of the award winning Spice Lifestyle, the only Asian cultural magazine in Britain.
Currently working on his third poetry collection, editing an anthology of Anglo-Asian Poets in Britain, and he is also doing research on the First World War poet, Ivor Gurney.
Roshan has been selected and appointed as Birmingham's Poet Laureate, 2000-2001. He is currently working with Birmingham's Leisure Services and Literature Development Officer at the Central Library to formulate a plan of action for his term in office.
He has two collections of his poetry, Delusions (1995) published by Charles Green Education and The English-knowing Men (1999) published by Castle View Publications. A pamphlet " Thicker Than Water" (1998) with Wayne Dean-Richards was published by Chronicles of Disorder.
Also in 1998 he was anthologised in a collection called Spouting Forth published by the West Midlands Arts Council. He has also been featured in an anthology of Anglo-Asian writers in Britain, as well as an anthology of the same name published in the United States.
In effect, Roshan's work has been published widely. He and his work have also appeared in newspapers and magazines in Britain and abroad. These publications include: The Times, The Independent, The New York Times, and India Today. He has recently been featured in The Birmingham Post, and writes for local papers in the Midlands, on social/political issues.
His first book Delusions is an autobiographical collection of poetry and poetic-prose looking at images of time, space, sex and cultural identity.
The English-knowing Men is a phrase taken from one of Gandhi's speeches in which he warned that the real enemy of India will not be the British, after Independence, but 'the English-knowing men', the anglicized Asians, Indian in appearance but English in terms of outlook. Roshan uses this as a springboard to delve into self-exploration and reassesses his position and identity in a bi-cultural environment.
Thus, the issues of ethnicity, culture and sexual politics are interwoven in these thematically linked collections that contain a kaleidoscope of thoughts and images, creating a voice that is soft and vibrant.
Roshan's poetry has been described by Mo Dutta on Radio 2 as, 'a romantic, speaking softly to his generation'. Socialist Review: 'a fresh, intelligent voice', whilst Minerva Press was struck by his 'skill and stylistic versatility', and considered his work: 'Highly readable intelligent, poignant and sensitive'. Prof. Steve Ellis, University of Birmingham: ' .touching, witty and compassionate poems from the front-line of multiculturalism, often seen through the eyes of a child, with all of a child's innocence and a child's prejudice; sometimes deep, sometimes tender but always beautiful'.
Brian Keenan described his work in The English-knowing Men as, 'deeply intimate, always reflective a mind constantly shifting underneath the surface of (social aspects) to find both a source and a meaning. I like that kind of a mind.'.
Roshan has been reading in a variety of arts/literary festivals for a number of years. This year he was involved in Birmingham's Arts Fest 2000, which was an outstanding success, and for which he is still receiving positive feedback from festival-goers who attended his events.
Roshan offers poetry workshops to educational institutions throughout the country, for both teachers and students. He has recently undertaken a reading at Leighton (Private) School and Blue Coat School in Reading, addressing the issue of teaching modern poetry to students at both GCSE and 'A' level.
He is an experienced public speaker and is often invited as a guest speaker at prestigious events.
In January 2001 he is to give a lecture entitled When England Was English at the University of Birmingham. This will address the issue of cultural identity.
(At present he is being considered to appear as a panellist on Question Time, is to be included in Radio 4's Poetry Please, and is working on proposals for 2 full length programmes on Radio 4.)