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Out of Sri Lanka

Out of Sri Lanka

Tamil, Sinhala and English Poetry from Sri Lanka and its Diasporas

Vidyan Ravinthiran
,
Seni Seneviratne
,
Shash Trevett
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Paperback / Hardback

Sri Lanka has thrilled the foreign imagination as a land of infinite possibility. Portuguese, Dutch and British colonisers envisioned an island of gems and pearls, a stopping-point on the Silk Road; tourists today are sold a vision of golden beaches and swaying palm trees, delicious food and smiling locals. This favours the south of the island over the north rebuilt piecemeal after the end of the civil war in 2009, and erases a history of war crimes, illicit assassination of activists and journalists, subjugation of minorities, and a legacy of governmental corruption that has now led the country into economic and social crisis.

This first ever anthology of Sri Lankan and diasporic poetry – many exiles refuse to identify as ‘Sri Lankan’ – features over a hundred poets writing in English, or translated from Tamil and Sinhala. It brings to light a long-neglected national literature, and reshapes our understanding of migrational poetics and the poetics of atrocity. Poets long out of print appear beside exciting new talents; works written in the country converse with poetry from the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. Poems in traditional and in open forms, concrete poems, spoken word poems, and experimental post-lyric hybrids of poetry and prose, appear with an introduction explaining Sri Lanka’s history.

There are poems here about love, art, nature – and others exploring critical events: the Marxist JVP insurrections of the 1970s and 80s, the 2004 tsunami and its aftermath, recent bombings linked with the demonisation of Muslim communities. The civil war between the government and the separatist Tamil Tigers is a haunting and continual presence. A poetry of witness challenges those who would erase, rather than enquire into, the country’s troubled past. This anthology affirms the imperative to remember, whether this relates to folk practices suppressed by colonisers, or more recent events erased from the record by Sinhalese nationalists.

Imprint: Vintage Books

Published: Dec/2023

ISBN: 9780143464341

Length : 424 Pages

MRP : ₹599.00

Out of Sri Lanka

Tamil, Sinhala and English Poetry from Sri Lanka and its Diasporas

Vidyan Ravinthiran
,
Seni Seneviratne
,
Shash Trevett

Sri Lanka has thrilled the foreign imagination as a land of infinite possibility. Portuguese, Dutch and British colonisers envisioned an island of gems and pearls, a stopping-point on the Silk Road; tourists today are sold a vision of golden beaches and swaying palm trees, delicious food and smiling locals. This favours the south of the island over the north rebuilt piecemeal after the end of the civil war in 2009, and erases a history of war crimes, illicit assassination of activists and journalists, subjugation of minorities, and a legacy of governmental corruption that has now led the country into economic and social crisis.

This first ever anthology of Sri Lankan and diasporic poetry – many exiles refuse to identify as ‘Sri Lankan’ – features over a hundred poets writing in English, or translated from Tamil and Sinhala. It brings to light a long-neglected national literature, and reshapes our understanding of migrational poetics and the poetics of atrocity. Poets long out of print appear beside exciting new talents; works written in the country converse with poetry from the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. Poems in traditional and in open forms, concrete poems, spoken word poems, and experimental post-lyric hybrids of poetry and prose, appear with an introduction explaining Sri Lanka’s history.

There are poems here about love, art, nature – and others exploring critical events: the Marxist JVP insurrections of the 1970s and 80s, the 2004 tsunami and its aftermath, recent bombings linked with the demonisation of Muslim communities. The civil war between the government and the separatist Tamil Tigers is a haunting and continual presence. A poetry of witness challenges those who would erase, rather than enquire into, the country’s troubled past. This anthology affirms the imperative to remember, whether this relates to folk practices suppressed by colonisers, or more recent events erased from the record by Sinhalese nationalists.

Buying Options
Paperback / Hardback

Vidyan Ravinthiran

VIDYAN RAVINTHIRAN was born in Leeds, to Sri Lankan Tamils. His first book of poems, Grun-tu-molani (Bloodaxe, 2014), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize and the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. His second, The
Million-petalled Flower of Being Here
(Bloodaxe, 2019) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the T.S. Eliot Prize and Ledbury Munthe Poetry Prize for Second Collections. After posts at Cambridge, Durham
and Birmingham, he now teaches at Harvard.

Seni Seneviratne

SENI SENEVIRATNE, a writer of English and Sri Lankan heritage published by Peepal Tree Press, with books including Wild Cinnamon and Winter Skin (2007), The Heart of It (2012), and Unknown Soldier (2019), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, a National
Poetry Day Choice and highly commended in the Forward Poetry Prizes 2020. She is currently working on an LGBTQ project with Sheffield Museums entitled Queering the Archive and completing her fourth collection to be
published by Peepal Tree in 2023. She lives in Derbyshire.

Shash Trevett

SHASH TREVETT is a Tamil from Sri Lanka who came to the UK to escape the civil war. She is a poet and a translator of Tamil poetry into English. Her pamphlet From a Borrowed Land was published in 2021 by Smith|Doorstop.
Shash has been on judging panels for the PEN Translates awards and the London Book Fair, and was a Visible Communities Translator in Residence at the National Centre for Writing. Shash is a Ledbury Critic, reviewing for PN Review and the Poetry Book Society and is a Board Member of Modern Poetry in Translation. She lives in York.

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