Renowned poet and anthologist Eunice de Souza passed away at her Mumbai residence on the morning of July 29. The 77-year-old, an English-language poet published four volumes of poetry, two novels and edited several anthologies of poems and essays in her lifetime.
De Souza was not only admired as a poet but was loved as a teacher as well. A professor of English, she taught at Mumbai’s prestigious St Xavier’s College. In 2000, she retired as Head of the Department of English, ending her teaching career of 30 years. A PhD holder from the University of Mumbai, she did her Masters from Marquette University in Wisconsin, USA.
A fierce writer, known for her intensely concentrated and highly charged verbal utterance, her contemporaries often compared her to a “volcano”. Born in Pune, her first work published in 1979, was a collection of poetry called ‘Fix’ and focussed on the Goan Catholics living in Mumbai. Her latest collection, ‘Learn from the Almond Leaf’ was published in 2016. With time the poet claimed her poetry have become “calmer, more nuanced, less one-dimensional,” she once said to poet Arundhathi Subramaniam, who was her student.
She had also worked on fictions and released two books in 2001 and 2003. As a poet, she disliked being called a poetess, she had shared in an earlier interview with the DNA.
De Souza penned downed a regular column for the Mumbai Mirror and contributed to many other magazines such as the EPW. Her several works have been translated into Portuguese, Italian, Finnish and Swedish.
Her death leaves a great void in the world of Indian poetry. Be it the sharp, edgy and corrosive works laden with irony, or her latest works of sensuous and passionate love, both had an equal charm and sensitiveness.