Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stitch Your Eyelids Shut by Vivimarie VanderPoorten

Like I have said before, I am not a poetry person, but since I picked up her first book Nothing Prepares You, I have been a huge fan of Vivimarie VanderPoorten and was looking forward to her second book of poetry. Stitch your eyelids shut, the title taken from Pablo Neruda's poem Ode to Sadness gives us many poems that deal with disturbing themes, sadness, lost loves, conflict and emotions among other themes.

Perhaps there may be those readers who will feel inundated by this weight of sorrow. But Vivimarie continues to be one of Sri Lanka's foremost contemporary poets, detailing every day life with such accuracy that one is surprised to read of an ordinary emotion told in an extraordinary way.

There are many poems that deal with love, most of them lost. A particularly poignant love poem is Aftertaste:


wet on my lips

we are divided by

the blue wide sheets

of the crumpled ocean

and I have stopped waiting

on this side

of the beach's over bright bedroom

yet still I want

to write for you

even though I have kissed another man since

and filled

the empty

The poems I like best in this collection have to do with family. Grandmother Died, My Sister's fish, Letter to my sister, December 1995. Some poems are different and interesting like Quiz and Random Questions, though I have the feeling Random Questions is a nod of appreciation to Malinda Seniviratne's Gratiaen shortlisted manuscript of poems that had a whole host of question poems.

Having won the Gratiaen for her first book of poems leads me to the question is this book as good if not better than her first. Unfortunately, the answer for me is a no (and this is an entirely subjective opinion). Her first book was sassy and sharp. I found some of the poems in this collection tedious, others were laboured but let me hasten to add that most of the poems were good - in fact they were more than good, and that is what makes this collection worth having.


  1. I loved Vivimarie Vanderpoorten's poetry and I'm glad that you chose to review her book. I would love to see more poetry reviews though. Can you review another poetry book? As a teenagers, most of my friends are kinda allergic to poetry.They read your blog (the one's who like to read). I want sri lanka's youth to see how awesome poetry is. So please please please review a poetry book, maybe one that is aimed for teenagers?

    Thanks Egghead!

  2. Yes, Vivi is a bold poet badly needed to change the direction of Sri Lankan writing!!!


  3. Dear Malki,
    you have your wish, the next review will also be a poetry book. I promise. Also, thanks for letting me know that teenagers read my blog. That's wonderful. Yeah!

  4. Thank you so much Egghead!!!


  5. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm