Poetry Poetry Friday

[Poetry Friday] “Because my voice was not the right voice… are you a terrorist?”

"As A Child" by Vidyan Ravinthiran.

Myra here.

Thank you to the amazingly beautiful Robyn Hood Black of Life On The Deckle Edge for hosting this week.


The Million-Petalled Flower Of Being Here (Amazon | Book Depository)

Poetry by: Vidyan Ravinthiran Published by Bloodaxe Books (2019)
ISBN13: 9781780374765  Book photo taken by me.

I have come across the poem of Vidyan Ravinthiran on Facebook a year ago, and it struck me as especially powerful, providing a visceral effect on me with its unflinching truth. While I am not sure whether this particular poem entitled As A Child is included in the poetry collection above – short-listed for the T. S. Eliot Prize – allow me to share it with you here. I believe that it fits our current reading theme to a T.

When I googled Ravinthiran as part of this post, I discovered that he is an Associate Professor at Harvard, grew up in Leeds as a child of Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants, and was educated at Oxford and Cambridge. I invite you to get to know his poetry more, and learn more about “the avid void of English.” 

I also found this youtube link of him reading a poem from The Million-Petalled Flower Of Being Here. You’re welcome.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Poetry Friday] “Because my voice was not the right voice… are you a terrorist?”

  1. laurashovan222

    Thank you so much for this, Myra. In writing and talking about A Place at the Table, my co-author Saadia and I have had so many conversations about accents — how they are received, perceived, stereotyped. The poem “As a child” had me thinking about accents in new ways, again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Children who need to become early aware of speaking in different ways for safety also become more able to teach us about the wider world. Thanks for this, Myra. Learning about new experiences of many others is a grand thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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