INDIVISIBLE: the Poetry of South Asian America - Reading by Pireeni Sundaralingam

September 27, 2011 -- 7 p.m. -- Schloss (EW 154) -- in English

Poet and editor Pireeni Sundaralingam read from and discussed the seminal poetry anthology, Indivisible--the first anthology of American poets to trace their roots back to South Asia--, as well as her own poetry, charting her experiences from the civil war in Sri Lanka to immigration and exile in the West.

About Pireeni Sundaralingam

A former PEN USA Rosenthal Fellow, Sundaralingam's poems have appeared in both American and European journals, including Ploughshares, The Progressive, World Literature Today, and The Guardian newspaper (UK), and featured in anthologies such as Amnesty's 100 Poems for Human Rights (New Internationalist, 2009), university textbooks such as Three Genres (Prentice-Hall, 2009) and Language for a New Century: Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond (W.W. Norton, 2008).

Her poetry has been translated into several languages, including Tamil, Swedish, Vietnamese and Gaelic, and has been featured at both the United Nations headquarters, and the International Museum of Women.

Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry

While the last ten years have seen a veritable explosion of South Asian and South Asian American fiction in the United States, little attention has been given to the flourishing voices in South Asian American poetry. Featuring 49 prominent South Asian American poets, including both established writers and younger award-winning authors, Indivisible showcases American poets who share a long history of grappling with a multiplicity of languages, cultures and faiths. The poems gathered here take us from basketball courts to Bollywood, from the Grand Canyon to sugar plantations, from Hindu-Muslim riots in India to anti-immigrant attacks on the streets of post 9/11 America.

Since Ralph Waldo Emerson first drew inspiration from the Sanskrit epic poem Bhagavad Gita, the poetic traditions of South Asia and the United States have been deeply intertwined, tracing a lineage through Walt Whitman and the poetry of the Beats. A ground-breaking anthology, Indivisible brings us up to date, presenting the work of contemporary South Asian American poets who are rewriting the cultural and literary landscape of America today.

"...deserves a place among the best anthologies of poetry."
- Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate

"...a valuable contribution to American letters"
- San Francisco Examiner

Indivisible won the 2011 California Book Award and is currently (September 2011) shortlisted for the 2011 PEN Book award and the 2011 Before Columbus Foundation Prize.