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Hoshang Merchant

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Hoshang Dinshaw Merchant (born 1947) is a poet from India. Most of his writings are in English. He is best known for his anthology on gay writing titled Yaarana.

Early years and education

Hoshang Merchant was born in 1947 to a working class Zoroastrian family in Mumbai, India. He was educated at Xavier's Lads Academy and St. Xavier's College, Mumbai. He has a Masters from Occidental College, Los Angeles. At Purdue, he studied Renaissance and Modernism, and for his PhD (1981), wrote a dissertation on Anaïs Nin. He has lived and taught in Heidelberg, Jerusalem and Iran where he was exposed to various radical movements of the Left. "Hoshang Merchant - The Poetry of Jalwah" by Aparajita Roy Sinha,, accessed 27 October 2009 Merchant is openly gay.
Writers Workshop in Kolkatta, India has published seventeen books of his poetry since 1989. Rupa and Co. published his book of poems Flower to Flame in 1992 in the New Poetry in India series. The Rockefeller got him Bellagio Blues (2004). Yaraana: Gay Writing from India (Penguin, 1999), Forbidden Sex/Texts (Routledge, 2009), Indian Homosexuality (Allied, 2010), The Man Who Would Be Queen: Autobiographical Fiction (Penguin, 2012) and Sufiana: Poems (2013) are among his notable works.

Teacher, poet and critic

Since the mid-80s, Hoshang Merchant has made his home in Hyderabad, where he taught English at University of Hyderabad.
He has written 20 books of poetry, and four critical studies. He edited India's first gay anthology Yaraana: Gay Writing from India. Secret Writings of Hoshang Merchant (OUP: New Delhi, 2016), edited by Akshaya K. Rath, is his most recent publication.



  • Flower to Flame (1989, Delhi: Rupa & Co.)
  • Stone to Fruit (1989, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • Yusuf in Memphis (1991, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • Hotel Golkonda: Poems 1991 (1992, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • The Home, the Friend and the World (1995, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • Jonah and the Whale (1995, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • Love's Permission (1996, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • The Heart in Hiding (1996, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • The Birdless Cage (1997, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • Talking to the Djinns (1997, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • Selected Poems (1999, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • Bellagio Blues (2004, Hyderabad: Otherwise Books, Spark-India)
  • Homage to Jibanananda Das (2005, Contemporary World Poetry Series, London: Aark Arts)

Critical studies

  • In-discretions: Anaïs Nin (1990, Calcutta: Writers Workshop)
  • Forbidden Sex, Forbidden Texts (2008, Delhi: Routledge)


  • Yaarana: Gay Writing from India (1999, New Delhi: Penguin)
  • Appearances in the following poetry Anthologies

  • Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry (2004) ed. by Menka Shivdasani and published by Michael Rothenberg, Big Bridge United States.
  • See also

    • Indian English Poetry
    • Indian poetry in English

    External links

    • Hoshang Merchant: Poet, Teacher, Lover
    • "Sar Pe Lal Topi Parsi" by Hoshang Merchant,, 20 August 2001, accessed 27 October 2009
    • "Hoshang Merchant - The Poetry of Jalwah" by Aparajita Roy Sinha,, accessed 27 October 2009

    Category:1947 births
    Category:Living people
    Category:English-language poets from India
    Category:Gay writers
    Category:20th-century Indian poets
    Category:Indian expatriates in Iran
    Category:Indian expatriates in Israel
    Category:Indian expatriates in the United States
    Category:Indian male poets
    Category:LGBT writers from India
    Category:LGBT Zoroastrians
    Category:Occidental College alumni
    Category:Parsi people from Mumbai
    Category:Poets from Maharashtra
    Category:Writers from Mumbai
    Category:Purdue University alumni
    Category:St. Xavier's College, Mumbai alumni
    Category:20th-century Indian male writers

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