Philip Michael Ondaatje (born September 12, 1943), is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet. He won the Booker Prize for his novel The English Patient, which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.
Ondaatje was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1943 and moved to England in 1954. He attended Dulwich College. After relocating to Canada in 1962, Ondaatje became a Canadian citizen. He studied for a time at Bishop's College School and Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Quebec, but moved to Toronto, where he received his BA from the University of Toronto and his MA from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. He then began teaching at the ... more »
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Michael Ondaatje Poems
The Cinnamon Peeler
If I were a cinnamon peeler I would ride your bed And leave the yellow bark dust On your pillow.
To A Sad Daughter
All night long the hockey pictures gaze down at you sleeping in your tracksuit. Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Griffin calls to come and kiss him goodnight I yell ok. Finish something I'm doing, then something else, walk slowly round the corner to my son's room.
Application For A Driving License
Two birds loved in a flurry of red feathers like a burst cottonball, continuing while I drove over them.
Speaking To You (From Rock Bottom)
Speaking to you this hour these days when I have lost the feather of poetry
On the warm July river head back upside down river
Catch, my Uncle Jack said and oh I caught this huge apple red as Mrs Kelly's bum. It's red as Mrs Kelly's bum, I said
Notes For The Legend Of Salad Woman
Since my wife was born she must have eaten the equivalent of two-thirds of the original garden of Eden.
Quotationsmore quotations »
''The first sentence of every novel should be: "Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human." Meander if you want to get to town.''Michael Ondaatje (b. 1943), Canadian novelist. "Palace of Purification," bk. 2, In the Skin of a Lion (1987).
''The past is still, for us, a place that is not safely settled.''Michael Ondaatje (b. 1943), Canadian novelist. The Faber Book of Contemporary Canadian Short Stories, introduction (1990).
Comments about Michael Ondaatje
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The Cinnamon Peeler
If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
And leave the yellow bark dust
On your pillow.
Your breasts and shoulders would reek
You could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.
Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to you hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.
I could hardly ...