Personal & Profane: 50 Years of Verse by Cecil Rajendra is a collection of Malaysian poet’s finest work spanning five decades, revealing a tender inner voice behind a pugnacious front. In a polarised world, his work is enduring relevant and his burning fire, a beacon of hope.
With fierce verse conjured from the depths of a mighty heart, the lawyer-poet Cecil Rajendra is recognised as one of the Third World’s most powerful voices, relentlessly championing the rights of the downtrodden and dispossessed.
About the Author
Personal & Profane: 50 Years of Verse by Cecil Rajendra has been published to mark the 50th Anniversary of the publication of the Malaysian lawyer-poet’s first collection of poems – Embryo.
Cecil Rajendra was born in Penang, Malaysia and enjoyed the better part of his childhood in the fishing village of Tanjung Tokong (since dismantled by ‘development’) and received his formal education in St. Xavier’s Institution, the University of Singapore and Lincoln’s Inn, London. He describes himself as a ‘lawyer by profession but a poet by compulsion’ and has been writing poems since the age of 11 when he first discovered the works of Rabindranath Tagore and Omar Khayyam.
In 2004, Cecil Rajendra became the first recipient of the Malaysian Lifetime Humanitarian Award for his pioneering legal aid work and inspirational poetry. A year later he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He has also received a Human Rights Award from the Malaysian Commission on Human Rights and was granted a DIVA (Danish International Visiting Artiste) Award by the Arts Council of Denmark in 2011.
The poet currently lives, works and wanders the streets of George Town.
“His verse burns with the fire of righteous anger…one of the finest poets writing in Asia today.” Asiaweek
“Rajendra’s grasp of purpose, his sense of conviction has lent his poetry an easy charm that conceals a deeper understanding of poetic form and structure. In the best of his poems he remains a balladeer, who, despite the pugnacity of his politics, inspires warmth and a certain romantic quality. His versality remains stellar…” The Star
“The poems reveal the intricacies of a great heart expressing a compassion through polemic. Rajendra has brought back a fearless sense of commitment, and undiminished energy to go with it.” Lloyd Fernando
“That rare combination of “dreaming poet” and “man of action” whose poetry has the capacity to reach parts that reason, argument and even TV fails to touch.” Baptist Times