The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here
Publisher: Bloodaxe Books
Vidyan Ravinthiran’s second collection is a book of sonnets for his wife. These are love poems that turn analytical, consider the world, and in which the pronoun 'we' aspires to stand for a larger community, including (if you like) readers themselves. Many describe life in the North East for a mixed-race couple, considering both the redemptive force of love and the cultural origins of our discontent. Brexit; racist and sexist abuse; class; our work-life balance, and our relationship with institutions (be it our employer, or the NHS); taboos surrounding mental health; civil war in Sri Lanka; media representation of minorities; immigrant anxieties: these poems look inward, but also outward. Worrying at the link between society and our private lives, they scorn a politics which would put us all in separate boxes. Love, and imagination, may not conquer all, but as recent shocks suggest, ‘we’ must at least try to understand people different to us. Poetry Book Society Recommendation.