Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tea and Me by Chanima Wijebandara

As reviews of poetry books have been requested, off I trotted over to my neighbourhood bookshop to see the pickings. Tea and me by Chanima Wijebandara caught my eye. Firstly I love the yellow bookcover and secondly because the book was slim, I thought I could read it quickly and review it before the week is up. Divided into three parts - we begin with a poem that cries out at the injustice of society when one is a woman. While there were some awkward parts, you cannot deny the poem was written straight from the heart and that is what makes it appealing. There is undeniably a strong feminist streak that runs through most of the poems. While some poems are mawkish in their depiction of love, there are others that are strong and vibrant. For example a favourite poem is

The New "pound of Flesh"

The sophisticated modern man
who saved me
from the stereotypical tragedy,
took my heart,
took my hand
and soared to unknown heights,
and glorified the
unconventional woman in me,
after six years and a half
now wants
three children
three meals
and six cups of tea a day
from me
to continue!

Is there a new Vivimarie in the making? Other poems are Cocktail - an amusing description of the hollow and brief encounters at what else but a cocktail party; File Delayed - makes one think on what is important in life and that have been missed amidst the pressures of work; Marriage - is a startlingly good poem that reveals the facade of a violent marriage. One of the things I loved about Vivimarie's poetry is how she took everyday events and highlighted the mundane or particular social issues in a few lines. Chanima seems to closely follow in Vivimarie's footsteps. She has passion and there is outrage. Two things that can fuel the writing of good poetry. However, I feel that she needs to mature in her writing. Undoubtedly, Chanima Wijebandara has talent. She has important things to say about life and love and social issues. Tea and me for a first attempt at writing poetry is commendable but it has room for improvement. Like the title, I will await Chanima's second publication and hope that she has let it steep and brew awhile before it goes to press.
On another note, the Colombo Book Fair starts in a few days time. Oh Goody! You can bet that I will be there stocking up on books to do more reviews on. See ya there!

1 comment:

  1. hey :) nice review. Was smiling when i saw you refer to me in this piece:-) Well, Chanima was my student and you may have noticed I wrote a blurb on her book cover. I do think she is talented and that her poetry will get better as she matures as a writer.