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In a Time of Burning

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In a Time of Burning

by Cheran

Bilingual English / Tamil edition

Translated by Lakshmi Holmström introduced by Sascha Ebeling

Part of our Visible Poets series edited by Jean Boase-Beier

This collection brings together some of the finest poetry written over more than three decades by Cheran, one of the best known Tamil poets today, impeccably translated by Lakshmi Holmström.

His poetry charts the narrative of the ethnic conflict and civil war in Sri Lanka, bearing witness to the horrors and atrocities suffered daily by the Tamil people during these years, and their continued suffering and mourning now. The narrative gains poignancy because it is set against a landscape which was once idyllic, and is now devastated.

Threading through the war narrative are love poems which are shadowed by uncertainty and the threat of separation and loss. The poems move from the well-known sea-scapes of Jaffna where Cheran was born, to the experience of diaspora in Europe and Canada, and return finally, to reflect on a land and its people left wounded and unhealed.

This book has been selected to receive financial assistance from English PEN's Writers in Translation programme supported by Bloomberg and Arts Council England. English PEN exists to promote literature and its understanding, uphold writers' freedoms around the world, campaign against the persecution and imprisonment of writers for stating their views, and promote the friendly co-operation of writers and free exchange of ideas.

Out of the desolation of civil war, Cheran wrings poems of loss and exile, loving and leaving, remembering and recovering, that drive the will to hope and resurrection. They have the immediacy of song and the wisdom of experience.

A. Sivanandan, author of the award-winning novel on Sri Lanka, When Memory Dies

While Cheran was in the UK October 2013, he was interviewed on BBC World News.

A recording of Cheran and Lakshmi Hiolmstrom reeading at the October Gallery 8 Oct 2013

Price: £9.99
ISBN 978-1906570-32-3 pbk
Price: £12.99
ISBN: 978-1906570-33-0 hbk
Page count: 128
Published July 2013