Born on 1937, he is the third recipient Gyanapitha awardee from Orissa after Shri gopinath Mohanty and Sri Sachi Routray. He is perhaps most widely translated Oriya poet. One of the foremost voice in the Indian poetry. His poetry has been translated into all the Indian languages, French, German, Swedish, English, Czech, Danish, Russian, Greek, Macedonian, Romanian and Ukranian.
Educated from Utkal, Allahabad, Cambridge University he gave up university teaching in 1961 and joined the Indian Adminsitrative Service. In 1975-76 he was Homi Bhaba fellow studying the modernization process of Indian’s primitive communities. He is considered as the foremost interpreter of the oral poetry of Indian primitive tribes. He holds doctorate in Social Anthropology.
His anthologies include seven collections of tribal poetry translated and edited by him in to English, five collections of his own poetry in English translation and several collections of essays on literature and culture.
A recipient of State and Central Sahitya Academi Awards, Soviet Land Nehru Award, Kumaran Asan Poetry Award and Visuva Award. He is a member of Central Selection Board, Bharatia Jnanapitha. Earlier he worked in the executive Board of the Central Sahitya Academi and was a member of Indian National Commission for Co-operation with UNESCO.
Dr. Mohapatra speaks in a style which is metaphysically suggestive, unobstrusively Indian tone, precise, rugged and yet inherently lyrical.