Ravi Shankar (Poet) Wiki, Age, Wife, Family, Biography & More

Ravi Shankar


Dr. Ravi Shankar is an Indian American poet, editor, and former literature professor. He is the founding editor and executive director of the electronic journal Drunken Boat. He is a Pushcart prize-winning poet.


Ravi Shankar was born on Monday, 13 January 1975 (age 48 years; as of 2023) in Washington, DC, USA. His zodiac sign is Capricorn. He grew up in Virginia. Shankar moved to India when he turned 9 and stayed there for a year and a half before returning to the USA. While in India, he pursued his schooling at M.A.K. Convent, Madras. He scored 1480 marks in GRE in 1999. He pursued a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Virginia from 1992 until 1996. In 2000, he got an MFA from Columbia University. In 2021, he received a PhD in Media and Communication from the University of Sydney.

Ravi Shankar’s childhood picture

Physical Appearance

Hair Colour: Grey

Eye Colour: Brown


Ravi Shankar belongs to a Tamil Brahmin family in Washington, DC.

Parents & Siblings

His father, K.H. Shankar, was an engineer, and his mother, Rajeswari Krishnan, is a homemaker. Ravi Shankar has two younger sisters.

Ravi Shankar with his mother

Ravi Shankar with his sisters in Florida

Wife & Children

Ravi Shankar was married to Parker, but the couple later got separated. The couple has two daughters, Samara Shankar, and Talia Shankar.

Ravi Shankar with his daughter Samara Shankar

Ravi Shankar with his daughter Talia Shankar


Ravi Shankar has been in a relationship with Julie, a writer and teacher, since 2018.

Ravi Shankar with Julie


Ravi Shankar follows Hinduism.

Ravi Shankar with his family at Sri Lakshmi Temple, Ashland



Ravi Shankar has written more than 15 books and chapbooks of poetry, including “Many Uses of Mint: New and Selected Poems: 1998-2018,” What Else Could It Be, and A Field Guide to Southern China (2019). His literary works have appeared in Paris Review, Fulcrum, McSweeney’s, the AWP Writer’s Chronicle, and Scribner’s Best American Erotic Poems. His poems have been translated into over 12 languages including French, German, Spanish, Hindi, Italian, and Bengali and have been featured at the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, and Poetry International. He founded one of the world’s oldest electronic journals of the arts, Drunken Boat. In 2021, he published his memoir “Correctional” in which he wrote about his parents’ immigration from South India to the United States and his own experience of facing racism and going to prison in the United States. H. Bruce Franklin, an American historian and scholar, described it as a brave voyage of discovery and said,

A brave voyage of discovery, Correctional is a real odyssey, barely making it home after navigating treacherous cultural and psychological waters. Thanks to Shankar’s brilliant writing and admirable honesty, we relive his harrowing, but eventually inspiring, personal saga. And his deep insights into our justice system are alone worth the price of admission.”

Ravi Shankar holding the book “Correctional”

Ravi Shankar, along with Tina Chang and Nathalie Handal, co-edited W.W. Norton’s book “Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond;” Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordime called this work “a beautiful achievement for world literature.” He is chairman of the Asia Pacific Writers & Translators (APWT). In 2016, Shankar, along with Priya Sarukkai Chabria, translated the works of Tamil poet/saint Andal.

Ravi Shankar reading his poetry at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2023


Shankar has taught at many institutions including Columbia University, Fairfield University, and the University of Sydney. He has also held fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Jentel Foundation, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Blue Mountain Center. In 2011, he became the Chairman of the Connecticut Young Writers Trust. He has taught at many institutes around the world including, Wesleyan University Summer Writing Conference, City University of Hong Kong, Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus, and Sun Yat-Sen University in China. In 2016, he was appointed as a permanent faculty member of the New York Writers Workshop.

Ravi Shankar at APWT 2022


Poet Professor promoted while in prison

In 2014, Ravi Shankar was a poet resident and associate English professor at Central Connecticut State University, Connecticut. He was promoted to the rank of full professor by Connecticut’s Board of Regents for Higher Education; however, at the time of the promotion, Shankar was serving a two-week portion of a 90-day-long pre-trial jail sentence. The charges against Shankar included credit card fraud and drunk driving. Every newspaper and news channel had the same Headline “Poet Professor promoted while in prison.” CCSU President Dr. Jack Miller said that he didn’t know Shankar was in jail until he was promoted. In an interview, Dr. Jack Miller said, ”

This is a very complex situation, but the simple answer is, it was my responsibility to inform the Board of Regents and I did not. At the time of the Board action I was not aware that Professor Shankar had been incarcerated. I have asked my staff to conduct a full investigation of all of the legal actions, when we knew of them, and the various processes involved.”

Shankar filed charges against the public university system of Central Connecticut and won a settlement of $60,409, paid by the college authority to Shankar, in exchange for his resignation. Ravi Shankar resigned from CCSU and moved to Australia to pursue his Ph.D. In an interview, Shankar said,

I take seriously my responsibilities as an educator and a role model, and am deeply distraught at the concatenation of bad luck and worse judgment that has wrought such havoc on all that I hold dear,”


  • In 2009, he received a fellowship award from The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.
  • In 2014, he won the Glenna Luschei Award from Prairie Schooner.
  •  In 2017, he won the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship.
  • In 2017, he won the Muse India Translation Award at the Hyderabad Literary Festival for his translations with Priya Sarukkai Chabri.


  • Ravi is a dog lover and has two dogs, Annie, and Rishi, and he often uploads their pictures on his social media accounts.

    Ravi Shankar with his dog Rishi at his home in Rhode Island

    Ravi Shankar with his dog Annie

  • Ravi Shankar loves travelling and has travelled to many countries including Singapore, Italy, India, and Myanmar.

    Ravi Shankar in Slovenia

  • In March 2023, he gave a TED talk at the TEDx TUFTS.

    Ravi Shankar at TUFTS University

  • In January 2018, he appeared as a guest speaker at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
  • According to Shankar, he enjoys Indian food, and Pav Bhaaji is his is his favourite Indian street food.

    Ravi Shankar eating Indian food in Madras

  • Ravi Shankar enjoys adventure sports and has done many including Ziplining and Sky diving.

    Ravi Shankar Sky diving in New Zealand in 2018

  • After the release of his memoir, during an interview, Ravi Shankar described himself as ABCD, he said,

    In the common parlance, I’m ABCD, an American Born Confused Desi, someone whose very displacement is a source of parody.”

  • In 2008, Ravi Shankar faced racism when he was stopped by an NYPD officer while driving. Shankar passed all sobriety tests. He was eventually released but not before he spent more than 72 hours in jail. Shankar later shared his story with NPR and won a $15,000 settlement against the city and NYPD.