Glimpse at Vivimarie Vanderpoorten


“A gentle, reflective minimalism which touches the soul, Vivimarie Vanderpoorten’s poetry is like a shadow passing across your face,” - Dr. SinhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda

“I originally started writing to make sense of the crazy things that were happening to me,” - she herself

Vivimarie VanderPoorten is a Sri Lankan poet. She is of Belgian and Sinhala ancestry and grew up in Kurunegala. Born a Christian, Vivimarie embraced Buddhism when she was 15. She holds a PhD from the University of Ulster, UK, and is currently a senior lecturer in English language, literature and linguistics at the Open University of Sri Lanka. She won the 2007 Gratiaen Prize. She was also awarded the 2009 SAARC Poetry Award in Delhi.

It is also critical to discuss Vanderpoorten’s mixed heritage, which compels her to navigate a complex identity. Vanderpoorten, exposed to both the traditional and western, negotiates both worlds, and is privy to both worldviews. Yet it is this unique perspective which perhaps provides Vanderpoorten with a distinct vantage point to reflect on life and reality.

As Sunday Times reveals: Her first collection of poetry, ‘nothing prepares you’, is almost painful to read, not simply because they confront gritty subjects like sexism, depression, racism, xenophobia and conflict but because in her hands language is a sharp edged instrument, more than capable of drawing blood. With humour, and flashes of raw vulnerability, she achieves what all poets set out to do - she shreds the frail curtains that separate my pain from your pain, my joy from yours, you from me. In the lines between, we are all, together, inescapably human. Vivimarie could never be accused of being. She resists categorization. As she says: “They love to put you in little slots, and I’ve always fought against that.” She is likely to keep on fighting.

Sri Lankan writing in English started in the early twentieth century and the insurgencies and ethnic riots provided bread and butter for the thematic concerns of the poetry. The war gripped Sri Lankans for about 30 years has been a subject matter for many poets like Vanderpoorten in writing poetry. In her poem ‘explosion’ she reveals about the ill-effects of suicidal attacks practiced by the terrorist group called LTTE.

As a well-versed educationist in Sri Lanka she provides her valuable knowledge to the students who strive to thrive in the field of English in the country. Her service is necessary and should be given more recognition as the number of writers in English in Sri Lanka is handful and reducing in numbers. May she gain strength and health to provide her paramount service to the country and the world.  





Resource book provided by NIE





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