Aryamati Poetry Prize winner 2021
These selected poems are a brave testimony to Sundra Lawrence’s linguistic ambitions. The pamphlet spans a thirty-year history, against the shadow of the Sri Lankan civil war, told from the voices of first and second generation British Tamils. We are privy to a poetic sensibility that seamlessly interweaves themes of migration and conflict with empathy and a deftness of touch. Lawrence peels back layers of cultural identities, shifting through zones of language; forging new identities in found locations; to saving “the seconds/ that slip into the soil” of early motherhood, to “100,000 books burning to black pollen” to “love in a two-star hotel off the Harrow Road”. This collection holds a candle to the dark, brimming with courageous and complex love.
“In Warriors, Sundra Lawrence takes us into Tamil culture, the Sri Lankan civil war, and her life, in language that is tangible, evocative and visceral. There are moments here that will have you holding your breath; moments that will make you smile too. We are indeed ‘lucky monarchs’ to have these superb poems.”
- Rishi Dastidar