Kuldeep Kumar Srivastava (born 25 July 1960) is an Indian civil servant who has also made his mark as a poet and reviewer. As of 2015, he is working as Principal Accountant General, Kerala, at Thiruvananthapuram.
K. K. Srivastava was born in a middle class family in Gorakhpur, UP, in 1960. He studied in Municipal Schools and graduated from D.A.V Degree College Gorakhpur, obtaining his M.A in Economics from Gorakhpur University in 1980.
Srivastava has three poetry collections to his credit: Ineluctable Stillness (2005), An Armless Hand Writes (2008; Second edition 2012) and Shadows of the Real (2012).
Srivastava's poetry is heavily influenced by his life experiences. In his first poetry collection Ineluctable Stillness, such an experience as Srivastava faced when he applied in 1981 for the post of a lecturer in a Degree College is recorded:
Initially Srivastava longed for teaching as a job and got an opportunity to appear before an interview board for the post of lecturer in a college. But the then prevailing conditions compelled him not to appear before the board. The Professor heading the board decided to cancel the interview. Next time, when he appeared for the same post, another gentleman heading the board asked him about the difference between economic growth and economic development. While explaining the difference, Srivastava dilated upon Gunnar Myrdal's concepts of 'instrumental value premises' and Paul Streeten’s views linking economic development with 'transformation of human beings' and also the relevance of the views of these two economists to 48 qualitative indicators as suggested by Adelman and Morris normally present in developing countries. While Srivastava was still continuing, the Board abruptly informed him curtly that the interview was over…Even deep knowledge succumbs to baser elements of humanity and treachery of human minds.
In the preface to the book Shadows of the Real, Srivastava writes about his inspiration from Marcel Proust in the following words. "It is through Marcel Proust's fascinating but exhausting amplification of what happens in between the last moments of waking state and initial moments of sleeping state: things, ages, memories, remembrances come and go in between as though nothing of importance is left, that I actualize writing."
Of the contemporary writers, he acknowledges the help he gets from Romanian poet Veronica Valeanu in refining his poems.
His poetry came to limelight when his books Ineluctable Stillness and An Armless Hand Writes were selected in 2010 for deliberations in an International Conference of poets and writers held at Tirana in Albania. Kristaq F. Shabani and Patrick J. Sammut, poets from Albania and Malta who presented a paper on his two books had this to say of Srivastava’s poetry:
The poetry of Srivastava, as it comes from the critical thoughts, without adornments, but real and expressed in modern literature, is a modern poetry which has surpassed the other poets and this standard is reached with the first poetic greenness and reaches standards of maturity with his second book. Above all this shows that the poetic profile is created; the 'adventure' of the surgical poetic operations is overdeepened, mind gymnastics with a successful and convincing lancet… By analyzing other representatives of the contemporary modern Indian literature, with Srivastava we throw our look 'back' in time, but with a clear object, the future of the Indian poetry with extraordinary Indian-English emphasis.
Aju Mukhopadhya, noted Indian poet and critic writes, "Ideas and thoughts are the mainstay of Srivastava’s poetic zeal. Human lives and relationship between men and women, the ultimate achievements of such lives and relationships are depicted through logical and analytical process, which constitute the body of his poems. Hopelessness, pain, sterility, and death- all we encounter through K K Srivastava’s poems. Yet there is something in them which keeps us spell bound. We remember Shelley’s 'Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts.'"
Celebrated Indian poet Jayanta Mahapatra opines in his foreword to Shadows of the Real, '…there is something in his (Srivastava’s) poems, a sort of rare grace, which delights and amazes.' A critic comments in Hindustan Times, "Srivastava is not a genteel poet, he is a disturbing poet, intent on unravelling the human mind of its false preoccupations, of the delusive hypocrisy masked as genuine emotions."
Sahitya Akademi's Indian Literature notes, "K K Srivastava’s Shadows of the Real is a heavy mix of imagination, observations and existential leanings which make it both heavy/sad and foreboding/dark. A well-read man, his introduction to the book evinces a scholarly temperament, extensive and intensive reading and a philosophical bent of mind. That his poetry should reflect his intellectual leanings is but natural... The poems make a difficult read but who says poetry has to be flimsy."
Srivastava has reviewed poetry collections and books of essays. His notable reviews include review of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s book of poetry A Journey, books of poetry by stalwarts like Sitakant Mahapatra and Ramakant Rath. His review of Zafar Anjum’s book of Iqbal featured in Bangladesh prominent newspaper The Daily Star. His review of Firaq Gorakhpuri and Stephen Gill has been published in the Pakistan Christian Post. He reviews for The Pioneer, Kitaab Singapore (kitaab.org), The Daily Star and Bureaucracy Today.In 2009, he was made a member of the International Writers and Artists Association (IWA recognized by UNESCO) for "his distinguished literary, intellectual, artistic and humanistic contributions".
The Austrian Literary Circle has bestowed on him its Decree of Merit for his two volumes of poetry in August 2010
He was declared Poet of the Year 2012 for "...his distinguished standing in the field of literature" by the Ohio based International Writers and Artists' Association.
Writers International Network Canada declared him as 'Distinguished Poet of the Year 2013' for his book Shadows of the Real.
Knot Magazine Turkey- Winter Issue 2015 (Interview by Maltese poet Patrick J. Sammut)
Kitaab, Singapore (Interview by Russian poet Adolf P. Shvedchikov) :
DD National Aaj Savere (Interview by Jasleen K Vohra) :
Interview by British Poet Wendy Mary Lister:
Muse India (Interview by Austrian Poet Kurt F Svatek)
Interview with Sharmila Gupta in ALIVE; May 2013