Vinita Agrawal

Author of four books of poetry, Two Full Moons (Bombaykala Books), Words Not Spoken (Brown Critique), The Longest Pleasure (Finishing Line Press) and The Silk Of Hunger (AuthorsPress), Vinita is an award winning poet, editor, translator and curator. Joint recipient of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 and winner of the Gayatri GaMarsh Memorial Award for Literary Excellence USA 2015. She is Poetry Editor with Usawa Literary Review. Her work has been widely published and anthologised. Her poem won a prize for the Moon Anthology on the Moon by TallGrass Writers Guild, Chicago 2017. More recently her poem won a special mention in the Hawker Prize for best South Asian poetry. She has contributed a monthly column on Asian Poets on the literary blog of the Hamline University, Saint Paul USA in 2016-17. In September 2020, she edited an anthology on climate change titled Open Your Eyes (pub. Hawakal). Most recently she co-edited the Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English 2020-21 (Hawakal). She judged the RLFPA poetry contest (International Prize) in 2016 and co judged the Asian Cha’s poetry contest on The Other Side in 2015. She was featured in a documentary on twenty women poets from Asia, produced in Taiwan. She has read at the FILEY Book Fair, Merida, Mexico, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival among others. She is on the Advisory Board of the Tagore Literary Prize. She has curated literary events for PEN Mumbai. Read more about her at


Splendid Poison Frog

Was it a cold December Wednesday
when you left?
A frosty, flinty, pin-point moment
that seals most pull-outs.
Silent like a hushed Mayday signal
reverberating in the ripples of a pond.
What time exactly
did you hop over
to where nowhere exists?
Did the sun flicker
at your vanishing act?
The way yellow convulses on a color palette
when mixed with green
before turning blue.
Was it the hour of dusk,
your favorite hour,
when you looked your dashing, heart-throb best
skin, brilliant coral, eyes, kohl black.
A fungus with a long name
colonized your body.
A local phenomena, some said.
Like a cloud breaking-up
a balmy summer’s evening.
Did the next morning feel
like a fine after-showers morning?
Estimated Extinction date: 2020
Cause: Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis)