Celebrating Role Models – Day 1

As promised, our Women’s Day 2012 Project kicks off today! This is a celebration, via portraits and narrative, of Sri Lankan women thriving today in different spheres of society. Stay tuned, we will upload a new inspiration every morning!

Today we feature acclaimed poet, VIVIMARIE VANDERPOORTEN.

Poetry happened to me like my career, something totally unplanned, unwished for, unprepared for. I cannot say with any degree of truth, that ‘I always wanted to be a writer/poet/whatever’ though I did start writing when I was very young. My first ‘poem’ was something about the moon being “yellow/and a heavenly fellow” when I was five. At sixteen, I wrote a poem about a child who died when a parcel bomb intended for his father exploded in his hands. I just used this medium to express myself at first and then later after studying literature for my BA, realized that it takes an awful lot of talent to be a poet, and ‘just wanting to express myself’ wasn’t enough. I stopped writing. It was years later that I started showing it to a few close friends, then a professor I was working for as a research assistant. Everyone said they liked what I said and how. I sent a poem to the Sunday Times’ ‘100 words’ column, after my father’s death and posted one on British Council’s writeclique.com days after the tsunami. That was the beginning of me believing that my poetry could be shared. Publishing my book is the fourth bravest thing I have done. It means you have to not only believe in yourself and your voice but it also means accepting criticism and acknowledging the shortcomings of your art and the fact that you will constantly need to work at improving it.

 

Photograph by Gerald Pereira

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