Published by Bloodaxe Books
Amali Rodrigo’s first collection is marked by a sense of being on a threshold between worlds. In South and East Asian religious symbolism, the lotus flower embodies the promise of purity and transcendence because it rises clear out of the muddy mire of its origins. It represents both abstract realms and the concrete phenomenal world. The lotus root is also an aphrodisiac.
Whether these poems are concerned with relationships, customs and superstition, war and its aftermath, the fabular or simply a piece of driftwood, they question scale, geographical and emotional distances, and our habitual gaze.
At the heart of the collection are her multi-voiced Aftersongs exploring the nature of the male gaze, religious didacticism and artistic inspiration. This epigrammatic sequence is based on the ekphrastic graffiti-poems inscribed between the 8th and 10th centuries at a royal pleasure palace and fortress in Sri Lanka, addressing the frescoes of the beautiful ‘cloud maidens’.