Home > Issues > Vavuniya via Anuradhapura by Michael Lockett, in Photos

PRISM 53.1 features Michael Lockett’s poem “Vavuniya via Anuradhapura”, in which the speaker travels by bus through Sri Lanka, taking in the sights, sounds and history of the country. Michael Lockett himself traveled to Sri Lanka in 2008, and in addition to writing poems, took some stunning photographs. Today we share a selection of those photos with you, along with commentary from Michael on both the photos and the poem.

While traveling through Sri Lanka I used Michael Ondaatje’s Handwriting as a kind of travel guide. Without that source I mightn’t’ve encountered some of the places I found most appealing, Mihintale for instance.

Bike - Michael Lockett

“Bike” – Vavuniya, Northern Province, Sri Lanka – © Michael Lockett

Attempting a reconciliation of images gleaned from poetry with the island itself was a challenging experience — there was much that cohered and clashed and confused.

Goat - Michael Lockett

“Goat” – Galle, Southern Province, Sri Lanka – © Michael Lockett

And regardless of the perspective I’d assume, reader or traveler, writer or photographer, there was, of course, much that was inaccessible.

Rain - Michael Lockett

“Rain” – Nuwara Eliya, Central Province, Sri Lanka – © Michael Lockett

I tried to replicate that tension between curiosity and inaccessibility through photography by playing with framing and focus, and within the poem, primarily by positioning the speaker as one eager to observe yet hesitant to infer.

Window - Michael Lockett

“Window” – Vavuniya, Northern Province, Sri Lanka – © Michael Lockett

– Michael Lockett

Pick up a copy of PRISM 53.1 in our online store or at a bookstore near you to read Michael Lockett’s poem “Vavuniya via Anuradhapura.”