Lakdasa Wickramasinghe – Biography


Lakdasa Wikkramasinha (Sinhala: ලක්දාස වික්‍රමසිංහ, 1941–1978) was a Sri Lankan poet who wrote in English and Sinhala, and is known for his fusion of the two languages. Wikkramasinha was educated at St Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka, where he studied law.


Wikkramasinha became an English teacher. His interest in Sinhala literature led him to experiment with methods of fusing Western and South Asian traditions in his writing.

Wikkrama Sinha’s first book of verse, Lustre: Poems (Kandy, 1965 ), was written entirely in English. Feeling constrained by his education to write in the language of what he believed to be ‘the most despicable people on earth’, he set himself to write as anarchically as possible. His later work, however, did not reflect this mood.

Wikkramasinha’s work appeared in Madrona, Eastern Horizon, New Ceylon Writing, Outposts, University of Chicago Review, and other local and international journals, and was published privately by him in Janakiharana and Other Poems ( 1967 ), Fifteen Poems ( 1970 —both Kandy), and Nossa Senhora dos Chingalas ( 1973 ), O Regal Blood ( 1975 ), and The Grasshopper Gleaming ( 1976 —all Colombo).

In honour of a Sri Lankan artist of a previous generation, Wikkramasinha edited and privately published Twelve Poems to Justin Daraniyagala 1903 –67 (Kandy, 1971 ).

Wikkramasinha died by drowning at age 36.

Books by Lakdasa Wikkramasinha

  • Lustre: Poems. Kandy: Ariya, 1965.
  • Janakiharana and Other Poems. Kandy: 1967.
  • Fifteen Poems. Kandy: 1970.
  • Nossa Senhora dos Chingalas. Colombo: 1973.
  • O Regal Blood. Colombo: 1975.
  • The Grasshopper Gleaming. Colombo: 1976.
  • Aurudu Mangala Davasa. Colombo: ?.

Works by Lakdasa Wikkramasinha in Periodicals

  • ‘A Straw Pillow’ ‘Red, the Coconuts’ ‘The Death of Ashanti’ ‘Verses’ ‘Visiting an Aunt’ in Navasilu II 33-7.
  • ‘Birds,’ ‘From the Life of the Folk Poet Ysinno,’ ‘In Ancient Kotmale,’ ‘Poem—Tribe’ ‘The Muse’ ‘The Poet-I’ ‘The Poet-II’ ‘To my Friend Aldred’ ‘Work of a Professor’ in New Ceylon Writing IV 14-24.
  • ‘In Ancient Kotmale’ ‘Stones’ of Akuratiye Walauwa’ ‘The Poet’ ‘To my Friend Aldred’ in Poems from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia & Singapore, pp 77–81.
  • Journal of South Asian Literature. (1976). vol. XII: The Poetry of Sri Lanka.
  • ‘The Poet’ in Bomb, no. 40. 1992.

Anthologies Containing Works by Lakdasa Wikkramasinha

  • Goonitilleke, D.C.R.A. (ed.). (2007–2010). Kaleidoscope : an anthology of Sri Lankan English literature. Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Works about Lakdasa Wikkramasinha

  • Dissanayake, Wimal. (1979). “A Note on Lakdasa Wikkramasinha’s Sinhala Poetry” in Navasilu, II, pp. 31–2
  • Gooneratne, Yasmine. (1979). “Dead ere his Prime: In Memory of Lakdasa Wikkramasinha” in New Ceylon Writing, IV, p. 12.
  • Haththotuwegama, Gamini. (1979). “The Poetry of Lakdasa Wikkramasinha” in Navasilu, II 24-30.
  • Jayatilaka, Lilani. (1987) Love Sex and Marriage in the Poetry of Lakdasa Wikkramasinha.
  • Meddegama, U.P. (1979). “New trends in the Language of Sinhala Poetry” in New Ceylon Writing, IV, pp. 137–142.

You can read Lakdasa Wikkramasinha’s poetry here