It ain’t over till ‘The Fat Lady Sings’

Friday, 17 December 2021 01:51 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Volume of poetry launched by Michele Leembruggen 

Michele Leembruggen

Singer, actress, voice artiste and Creative Director at some of Sri Lanka’s leading advertising agencies, Michele Leembruggen’s name is especially well known among those who followed local English theatre productions in the ’70s and ’80s, particularly those who witnessed her luminous performance as Eva Peron in the musical ‘Evita,’ or heard her show stopping rendition of ‘Memory,’ as Grizabella in ‘Cats’.

Now, at 74 years old, Michele has published a volume of poetry winningly titled ‘The Fat Lady Sings’. While this isn’t the first time that her poetry has been in print, this is the first time that many of the poems in the collection have been available to the public. As her friend, New York-based writer Gerard Raymond reveals in his foreword to the book, ‘…she shares her poems with the public for the first time. Readers, who formerly knew Michele only as a performer, are only just now discovering her latest voice.’

The 25 poems in the book have been carefully and lovingly selected, and each one captures a specific moment in the writer’s experience – ‘There is humour and there is pain…both joy and sorrow are refracted through a privately lived life over the decades.’  

Published by The Jam Fruit Tree Publications, the book features a broad range of moods and styles, from doggerel, rants and parodies to torch songs, ballads and dirges, each beautifully illustrated by talented young artist Sasha Pinto-Jayawardena.

Asked why she waited so long to publish, Michele explains, “Really, I could have published my poetry long ago; Richard De Zoysa wanted me to in the late ’70s, but I was reluctant to show my poetry to the public; it seemed far too personal. Also, I was always busy! For the last five years I have been stuck in my bed and that made me really blue…so I had nothing to do except write. It also felt like the right time – to share a little of what I have been through, I would like people to know that I have bled too.”

In her review of the book, Wendy Holsinger, Principal of the Wendy Whatmore Academy, writes: “This is poetry for the mature mind. An underlying note of longing and sadness pervades the poems; a feeling of unfulfilled desire in her life albeit tinged with a quirky humour…The innermost thoughts of the poet are beautifully and sensitively conveyed…Definitely, this is a book well worth reading.”

Michele Leembruggen’s ‘The Fat Lady Sings’ is available at The Jam Fruit Tree Bookshop and Barefoot. Please email [email protected] for an autographed copy.