Waking is Another Dream

Poems on the Genocide in Eelam by Cheran, Jayapalan, Yesurasa, Latha, Ravikumar

Edited by Ravikumar



68 pages

Price INR 180.00
Book Club Price INR 125.00

The images evoke the ravaged world of the Sri Lankan Tamil—DNA


The images evoke the ravaged world of the Sri Lankan Tamil—DNA

What happened between 8 and 18 May 2009 in Eelam? Did no one write diaries? Did no one have cameras? Were there no poets there? Not a single artist? Whatever happened on that last day? What is the poetry that can emerge from a ‘wounded landmass’ where ‘no bird is able to fly’, where people ‘ate death’?

Nobody answered our questions.

To ask one of the dead, at least,

I went to the mortuary.

My corpse lay there,

The ribcage apart

and in place of the heart

there was a grinding stone.

Five frontline Tamil poets—Cheran, Jayapalan, Yesurasa, Latha, Ravikumar—lament the loss of their land, their language and thousands of people. They chronicle

the people who have learnt

to pose for hours

clutching with ease

the barbed wire

without getting pricked.

Translated into English for the first time by Meena Kandasamy and Ravi Shanker, these introspective poems tell us how and why ‘waking is another dream’ in Sri Lanka.


Ravikumar is a Tamil critic, translator and poet who has founded several ‘little magazines’. His nonfiction has been published as Venomous Touch: Notes on Caste, Culture and Politics (2009). He was a legislator in the Tamil Nadu assembly with the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, a Dravidian political party. He is the editor of and a contributor to Waking is Another Dream, an anthology of poetry on the genocide in Eelam. Ravikumar, along with S. Anand, is the cofounder of Navayana. He is the co-editor of The Oxford India Anthology of Tamil Dalit Writing.