Blending the sacred and the everyday, Amali Gunasekera’s second collection The Golden Thread is a search for grace through the deep process of transmuting emotional trauma into peace.
She takes up Muriel Rukeyser’s famous line: ‘What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.’ Her book’s central sequence, Nine [Miscarried] Methods, considers the challenge of asserting a woman’s equal status within a patriarchal objectified culture.
Approaching the polemic or the existential with a gentle touch, this is poetry as lyric essay, mysterious and shapeshifting as sunlight on water. Formally, the poems explore the instability of the lyric ‘I’ and the addressed ‘You’. Often there is no static vantage point; instead, the ‘I’ and ‘You’ are verbs in a state of becoming. Their very unfixity reflects dynamic systems in the natural world where elements are constantly interacting and altering their natures.
These poems also respond to Wilfred Bion’s notion of ‘Thoughts Without a Thinker’ and Carl Jung’s ‘Collective Unconscious’: through a rich symbolic system they simultaneously hold two dimensions of time; the linear Chronos of our material world, and the vertical Kairos or spiritual time. Thus, the field of this collection is holographic, in search of new co-ordinates, always beholden to something just beyond sight.
Amali Gunasekera was born and grew up in Sri Lanka. She works in the field of Archetypal Psychology. After living in Mozambique, Kenya and India, she is now based in Cumbria. Her first collection, Lotus Gatherers, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 (under her former name of Amali Rodrigo).
Responses to Lotus Gatherers:
'What makes Rodrigo a truly remarkable poet? In part, it's the breadth and intelligence of her vision (and broad and intelligent it certainly is, taking us to Japan, Kenya, the North Pole; from Kintsugi and Ikebana to whirling dervishes and meteor showers); in part, the deftness with which she can work that vision into a world we can marvel at, but also recognise. This is a world of paradoxes - exotic and familiar, a deeply spiritual world which delights in passion; that celebrates love, but does not hesitate to focus on unsettling histories of gender violence. Lotus Gatherers is an astonishingly sensual book, in the literal sense – these are poems we can feel; poems we can hear resonating on the page, aromatic poems, laced with breathtaking imagery; poems we can hold up to our lips and taste.’ – John Glenday
‘The first full collection from Amali Rodrigo – a poet who has lived between Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Kenya and India – is both formally sophisticated and impressively diverse, reflecting the breadth of cultures and traditions informing its contents.’ – Daisy Lafarge, The Poetry Review
'A native of Sri Lanka, Rodrigo writes complex iridescent poems that sidestep any routine post-colonial interpretation...This is beautiful work, unlike anything out there, wonderfully alive and so deserving of wider attention.' - Conor O'Callaghan, Poetry, The Reading List
Amali Gunasekera reads from Lotus Gatherers
Amali Gunasekera reads and introduces a selection of poems from her first Bloodaxe collection, Lotus Gatherers (published under her former name of Amali Rodrigo): 'Lotus Gatherers', ‘Durian’, excerpts from 'Aftersongs', 'Ikebana' and 'Horology'. Filmed by Neil Astley, this video shows part of her performance (with Moniza Alvi and Arundhathi Subramaniam) at GemArts Masala Festival in Newcastle on 14 July 2016.
USA: Click here to order from Indiebound or Bookshop.org