Eunice De Souza -Poet, Critic, Teacher, passes away – Poetry News Aug 1st

Today at My Poetic Side we bring you the sad news of another passing in the world of poetry.

Born in 1940 in Pune, India, Eunice De Souza died this weekend just a few days before her 77th birthday. She had been ill for the last couple of months and suffered a heart attack, passing away at her home in Vakola, Santacruz.

She was born into a family that was Goan Catholic, which gave her a background that had a huge impact on her work as she commented and examined it with a caustic wit and keen sensitivity that was apparent in much of her work.

Having gained a degree, a masters in fact, in English Literature from her studies at Marquette University Wisconsin, USA, De Souza returned to India where she studied for a PhD at the  Mumbai University. She went on to teach at St. Xavier’s College, based in Mumbai. She taught English there, and inspired a generation of students and budding writers, especially women poets. She rose to Head of Department, a position which she held until  2000 when she retired. She also taught at Mumbai’s University.

“Fix”, her first poetry collection, was published by Newsground. It was this collection that gave her a solid reputation and showed the world her keen eye for both sympathy and irony. Published in 1979, Fix was a collection of poetry which for the most part was based on De Souza’s Catholic Brahmin heritage. Poems such as

were interwoven with details from her life, they also included incidents such as her father’s death when she was just a child – this was a trauma that scarred her for most of her adult life.

were interwoven with details from her life, they also included incidents such as her father’s death when she was just a child – this was a trauma that scarred her for most of her adult life.

A second poetry collection,

was published in 1988 and was closely followed by

All of these poetry collections, including some works that had previously never been published, were included in

In addition to these very successful poetry collections, De Souza also wrote 2 novels, where she used colloquial Bandra English in an effort to legitimise it. She was also an incredibly important figure in the world of poetry and was heavily involved in editing some of the most important anthologies of poetry of the last twenty years.

De Souza played a hugely significant role to post-Independence Indian Poetry in English, something that cannot be over stated. Together with Arun Kolatkar, Gieve Patel and Adil Jussawala she belonged to the generation of modernists. She might not have been as well-known as her male counterparts, however, the strong critical stand in her work, together with the use of many stylistic devices carved a very important role for De Souza in the poetry world. Her work is described by critics as becoming more minimalist over time and

her last collection of poetry, published in 2016 is described as having a crystalline clarity.

Eunice De Souza leaves behind no dependents; she never married, and both her parents are deceased.



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