Ravi Shankar is a poet and a founding member of Drunken Boat, one of the world’s oldest electronic journals of the arts. He served as Editor in Chief and Executive Director of the journal for fifteen years and is now on the Board of Directors.
Ravi founded Drunken Boat in 1999 to provide a comprehensive outlet for innovative and experimental literature and arts. At the turn of the century the publishing industry had just begun to take a few tentative steps toward electronic archiving. Ravi and an all-volunteer staff went full steam ahead with Drunken Boat, intrigued by the possibilities of sharing literature and art through new forms of media. The journal became a worldwide resource for those who not only wanted to explore the works of marginalized and underrepresented artists, but to do so through outlets that print simply could not cover: digital animation, interactive fiction, web art, videos, audio clips and more.
As time went by and technology evolved, Ravi Shankar helped grow a staff of 30+ passionate arts enthusiasts who handled fiction, poetry, translations, exclusive reviews and more. The journal naturally went through many iterations of aesthetics and sensibilities — yet through each of its distinctive looks, it maintained a core platform of “works of art that challenge conventions of form and format, of voice and genre.” In 2010 Drunken Boat also branched out to also publish books.
Drunken Boat is strengthened throughout with an academic precision and agility that is disarmed from the university arena and put to work, instead, on the playful and collaborative online stage.Laura Nye
Ravi Shankar has always been interested in fundraising and development and he continues to seek out opportunities for Drunken Boat, a certified nonprofit organization, to get the support they need to achieve financial sustainability.
Ravi Shankar holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and an MFA from Columbia University. He currently teaches at the New York Writers’ Workshop, although his teaching history includes professorial positions around the world: He was a faculty member for the first international MFA program at the City University of Hong Kong, a professor at the University of Cyprus, and other international teaching roles. Ravi’s passion for academia and teaching led him to publish a paper on the use of fractals to inspire creative writing, which appeared in the journal Writing & Pedagogy.
Born in Virginia, Ravi Shankar was raised speaking only the Tamil language of South Asia spent several years of his childhood living in India. This global upbringing had a profound effect on Ravi’s writing, and much of his work draws on themes of identity and intercultural exchange. He hopes that his work can lead to a more thorough appreciation for Asian art as well as inspire richer, multidimensional, and more honest depictions of Asian and Middle Eastern figures.
Ravi Shankar has published or edited ten books and chapbooks of poetry, including the 2010 National Poetry Review Prize winner, Deepening Groove. He has won a Pushcart Prize, been featured in The New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education, appeared as a commentator on the BBC and NPR, received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and has performed his work around the world. He was the longtime Chairman of the Connecticut Young Writers Trust and is dedicated to providing young and/or underrepresented artists with with opportunities to share their work.
When not on the road teaching or promoting his new books—like 2017’s The Golden Shovel Anthology—Ravi Shankar lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he is a proud father.