Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mark Pirie listed by Sri Lanka Dot Com

I was excited to find myself listed on the Sri Lanka Dot Com information and news portal:
This is likely to be from the publication of A Tingling Catch. I have followed Sri Lanka’s cricketers since the 1980s. I remember staying up late as a boy to watch New Zealand play Sri Lanka in the televised One-Day Tri Series in Australia. Some of my favourite players of that time were Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga. I watched Aravinda make 267 against New Zealand in a Test Match at the Basin Reserve. Nowadays I follow Mahela Jayawardene and K C Sangakkara’s scores. Sri Lanka, a small cricketing nation, produces great cricketers. Muttiah Muralitharan holds the world record for Test wickets, the first to reach 800.
Yet Sri Lanka doesn’t have much contact with New Zealand in a literary sense. Today, however, I picked up a copy of Jean Arasanayagam’s poems in English. Surprisingly The Rimu Publishing Company Ltd, Hamilton, New Zealand, published her collection, Trial by Terror, in 1987. Jean’s poems concern the national tragedy of civil war. The poet speaks: “These poems record the history of violence in my country, Sri Lanka. They record a personal involvement and a statement of despair. The poems from the refugee camp of 1983 record an authentic experience, the beginning of alienation, and the polarization and purgation of pity. You can never be merely an observer in this context. Art and literature are documentations of the crisis of violence and despair. The serious poet is committed to recording the truth as it happens to everyone and everywhere…” I have deposited my copy into the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa if anyone wishes to read and view it. Like Wellington-based African refugee poet Yilma Tafere Tasew’s Kenyan refugee camp poems, Arasanayagam’s poems are a powerful reminder of the human devastation caused by civil war in a well-liked and friendly cricketing nation.

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