Passionate, committed, and deeply humane, these poems bear witness with unflinching honesty to the horrific violence of the Sri Lankan civil war.
“Indran Amirthanayagam is above all the poet of the bloody Sri Lankan conflict and division. His work honours the sufferings of the living and the injustices dealt the dead, and for any reader, as good poetry always does, it speaks for itself, for humanity in general, and rings with its own universal authenticity and grace.”
—Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler’s Ark
“This Uncivil War of Indran Amirthanayagam is a personal bloodletting, an exorcism--a blind, brute belief that writing the horror down will keep it under control, corralled, digestible. This is poetry that breaks down barriers of decorum, of art written for mere sensual pleasure. Yet there is a haunting lilt in the lyric voice of this poet. He delves into bitter subjects and finds tunes unbearably beautiful. He has gone into exile, and he says: Let us remember paradise.”
—Adam Zameenzad, author of Cyrus, Cyrus
“...This is a Cosmos of a book. Indran Amirthanayagam is the true heir of Neruda in our time.”
—Jaime Manrique, author of Our Lives Are The Rivers
“You may never go to Sri Lanka, but if you are a student of the human condition, as all poets must be, then Uncivil War should be required reading. What is a poem to a country torn apart by civil war, by tsunami, by the myriad ways people can bring harm to other people? These poems possess the courage to imagine a different ending, the courage to speak out against brutality; it is the courage of empathy.”
—Rachel Rose, author of Song and Spectacle
Indran Amirthanayagam writes poetry and essays in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. His works include The Splintered Face, Ceylon R.I.P., El Infierno de Los Pájaros, El Hombre que Recoge Nidos, Sol Camuflado, La Pelota del Pulpo and The Elephants of Reckoning, which won the 1994 Paterson Poetry Prize. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and journals throughout the world. He has also published translations of Mexican poets Manuel Ulacia and Jose Eugenio Sanchez. He is a diplomat in the United States Foreign Service. He writes a blog on poetry athttp://indranamirthanayagam.blogspot.com.
Soy poeta estadounidense de origen ceilandes. Naci en esa isla que ya no existe, Ceilan. I write poems in English, Spanish,French, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. I believe in the cross- cultural encounter. Learned early from my parents to turn the other cheek yet keep writing poems on the face of the tyrant. My latest books are Uncivil War, Il n'est de solitude que l'ile lointaine, Pwezi a Kat Men, and Ventana Azul. Look for them on line at Amazon and nirvana.com. Ask for them at your local bookstore. You can also email me if interested in acquiring copies of earlier, hard to find books.
Me gustaria que este espacio sea un lugar de encuentro para poetas de todo el mundo. J'invite a tous a lire des poemes et a faire des commentaires.
Indran Amirthanayagam is a poet, essayist and translator in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Hatian Creole. His first book The Elephants of Reckoning won the 1994 Paterson Prize in the United States. His poem Juarez won the Juegos Florales of Guaymas, Mexico in 2006. Amirthanayagam has published ten books thus far: Aller-Retour Au Bord de la Mer (Legs, Port au Prince, 2014) Uncivil War (Tsar, 2013), La Pelota del Pulpo (Apogeo, Lima 2013), Sin Adorno (Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico 2013)Sol Camuflado (Lustra Editores, Lima, 2011), The Splintered Face Tsunami Poems (Hanging Loose Press, March 2008), Ceylon R.I.P. (The International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2001), El Hombre Que Recoge Nidos (Resistencia/CONARTE, Mexico, 2005) El Infierno de los Pajaros (Resistencia, Mexico, 2001), The Elephants of Reckoning (Hanging Loose Press, 1993).
Amirthanayagam's essays and op-eds have appeared in the Hindu, the New York Times, El Norte, Reforma, New York/Newsday, The Daily News, The Island, The Daily Mirror, Groundviews (Sri Lanka).
Amirthanayagam has played with Non Jazz at various concerts where his poems were set to music by Omar Tamez. He directed Mexico's first ever program dedicated to conversations with poets "Palabras En Vuelo: Poesia en Conversacion" which appeared on cable television in Northern Mexico in 2006. Amirthanayagam is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow and a past recipient of an award from the US/Mexico Fund for Culture for his translations of Mexican poet Manuel Ulacia. Amirthanayagam has also translated Jose Eugenio Sanchez, Julian Herbert and Jose Emilio Pacheco.