It’s achievement enough to publish a literary work, but one that combines genres—and excels in all of them—is a talent that few possess. Hiromi Goto has produced acclaimed poetry and novels—and now Shadow Life, a graphic novel that’s steeped in literary fiction with poetic magical realism. Harold R. Johnson is an acclaimed fiction and non-fiction writer. In The Björkan Sagas, he merges myth, fantasy, and history into an epic of exploration and adventure. Renée Sarojini Saklikar is an award-winning author, lawyer, and poet whose latest work was 10 years in the making. Bramah and the Beggar Boy is intellectually, geographically, and temporally wide-ranging: ambitious in scope. As the publisher explains, “The portal is deep. The portal is open. Take a deep breath. Jump.”
Lunch Poems is a unique opportunity to celebrate poetry and is held now online on the third Wednesday of every month, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. This month’s reading features poets Francine Cunningham and Leah Horlick.
The raison d’être of Lunch Poems is to invite and welcome everyone to enjoy poetry in a relaxed and casual atmosphere: whether you are new to poetry or have had a long romance with it. We invite you to join us to lunch on words and feed your soul.
Janet’s voice, embodied by Sharon’s poetry, tells us what this young black woman, poised and pretty, will endure and what will happen to her. To read the poems as historical documentation of a hidden life, a silenced voice, is to enter a dimension that forces both inquiry—how can this have happened?—and also an understanding of the reality of what many endure, behind the closed doors of a home… “
I’m delighted to have joined the Meet the Presses Collective, an all-volunteer collective devoted to promoting micro, small and independent literary presses. Their next online event for Fall 2021 in lieu of an in-person Indie Literary Market will be a celebration of Pedlar Press and a conversation with founder Beth Follett. Check out the details below!
As Pedlar Press winds up publishing new work at the end of 2021, author and editor Alayna Munce will speak with founder, Beth Follett, about persevering with joy and courage through changes in the literary world, and the twenty-five-year legacy of one of Canada’s most consistently impressive independent publishers of contemporary works of poetry, prose, and graphic novels.”
The Massy Arts Society presents Rachel Rose, author of the Giller-longlisted story collection, The Octopus Has Three Hearts (Douglas & McIntyre), and Maria Reva, author of Good Citizens Need Not Fear (Knopf Canada), in conversation with Renée Sarojini Saklikar, author of Bramah and the Beggar Boy (Nightwood Editions), for a virtual event in celebration of their latest books.
It will take place on Sunday, September 19 at 11am on Zoom.
It will also be livestreamed to Facebook. Spaces are limited, and advance registration is recommended.
Had a lovely time doing the first ever in-person reading of Bramah and The Beggar Boy this past weekend! Pleasure to share the stage with fellow poets Claire Matthews, Janet Kvammen, and Aidan Chafe.
Come join me, Aug 21 at 3pm outside Massey Theatre in New Westminster:
Poetry in the Park (PIP) is a summer reading series featuring established BC writers along with an open mic for optional audience participation. PIP encourages writers of all colours, shapes and sizes to share their work on stage—poetry, spoken word, short stories, and/or music.”
I’ll be reading from Bramah and The Beggar Boy with books for sales and signing—hope to see you there!
Lovely to have been interviewed by SFU Continuing Studies on Bramah and The Beggar Boy—an excerpt:
Set in an alternative world ravaged by climate change, the book recounts the tale of Bramah, a ‘brown, brave and beautiful’ time-travelling locksmith. After she adopts an orphan beggar boy, the pair team up with seed savers and other survivors, using their magic to outwit an evil consortium and battle contagion, drought and other eco catastrophes.
The book may sound like a far cry from the work that first put Saklikar on Canada’s literary map. Published in 2013, her award-winning debut poetry book children of air india explored the bombing of Air India Flight 182, a tragedy that claimed the lives of her aunt and uncle, and more than 300 others. Almost as an antidote to this traumatic subject matter, Saklikar began writing Bramah at the same time, indulging her love for imaginative, sweeping sagas.
‘Every culture has its great epic,’ she says. ‘I’ve always been drawn to them, the fireside stories of the matriarch telling you about how the world is, and inside of that frame, very personal stories.’”
So grateful for those who have taken the care to read and pen reviews for Bramah and The Beggar Boy:
Renee Sarojini Saklikar’s epic journey, Bramah and the Beggar Boy, unfolds as a futuristic folklore in a long poetic form. This book is a unique read. The language draws the reader in for closer inspection, and each selected word is like an arrow shot through a bow, hitting its mark; deliberate, impactful.Andrea, Goodreads
I step onto the disc. Spin. Spin. Spin. The verses and rhymes poetically layer on top of each other, elevating me, taking me places I’ve never been. I chase different dimensions. Just as I’m about to understand where I am, the mix master deftly sends me crashing through a portal to only have to rebuild once more. Another beat. Another layer. Another crash. The bad outweighs the good. Hope is being erased. But hope can never be eviscerated; it’s hope; it has its own pulse and thundering beat.”Lindsay, Goodreads
There is a multitude of levels to this tale, told as an epic fantasy, the major theme being the ravaging effects of climate change. Bramah is a “brown, brave and beautiful” locksmith (female) who meets an orphan beggar boy. Together, through magic, her grandmother and “Four Aunties of the Wishing Well,” plus time travel, they battle the evil (known as the “Consortium”) of the planet, which has been destroyed by “surging tides … wild fires .. . water rights abandoned …”
Brahma introduces the beggar boy to her Grandmother, a wise elder who, with “… her warm hands, her unlined skin …,” saves seeds. “Grandmother took the boy’s hand and shook kernels, red dawn, sequoia swirls, hard spindle-shaped, seeds as thin as oatmeal flakes fluttered down.”
Here’s a short reading from my new book, Bramah and The Beggar Boy, on Wax Poetic Radio on Coop Radio in Vancouver, in conversation with poets and hosts R.C. Weslowski and Kevin Spenst:
The show starts around 1:07 in—I hope you enjoy the episode!
So grateful for Bramah and The Beggar Boy debut on the BC Books Bestseller List for the week ending June 26, 2021, and with such a kind blurb from the Association of Book Publishers of BC:
“This is a poet’s generous and attenuated invitation to her readers to join her in a life-long project of unlocking and unbinding, of challenging the primacy of borders, the formal, the political and the self-imposed.”~Read Local BC Newsletter
Poet Renée Sarojini Saklikar kicks off a multi-part series about survivors of ecological destruction with Bramah and the Beggar Boy. Inspired by fairy tales, the first instalment is about a woman named Bramah and a beggar boy living in an abandoned village. They find fragments of an ancient text, and slowly piece together the story of what happened to the planet, and why they live the way they do.”
“Listening to the Bees is a collaborative exploration by two writers focusing their shared interests in bees. Through their distinct but complementary lenses of science and poetry, Mark L. Winston and Renée Sarojini Saklikar implore readers to listen to the bees, as we depend on them for our own survival and prosperity. The result is a marvellous journey into a deeper understanding of science, culture, nature, and language.
In this Speaker Series presentation, Mark L. Winston and Renée Sarojini Saklikar will welcome us into their multi-dimensional understanding of bees through conversation, readings and imagery.”
Date: Thursday, April 29, 2021 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Dear Vancouver, have you seen these around the Art Gallery?
The Downtown Vancouver BIA has installed hydrophobic invisible paint pieces that are rain- activated to reveal The Poetry Phone. Call 1-833-POEMS-4-U during April (National Poetry Month) to get your daily dose of great poetry from local poets.
Surrey Art Gallery Association’s online gift shop is the place to buy “The Summons,” a poetry- and art-covered face mask that “honours the cycles of change and transformation that people are individually and collectively going through.”
The mask was co-created by Surrey-based artist Debbie Westergaard Tuepah and poet Renée Sarojini Saklikar, who was Surrey’s first Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2018.”
Masks are available for purchase at the Surrey Art Gallery Association.
Masks available for purchase: Surrey Art Gallery Association.
From February 19 to 21, 2021, Seedy event organizers from across the province will join FarmFolk CityFolk in delivering a pandemic-friendly opportunity to connect with BC community organizations, seed businesses, non-profit organizations, and learn about seed saving. There will be opportunities to swap seeds within and between communities and network with seed enthusiasts from all corners of the province. Speakers and sessions will include seed saving and gardening education, a keynote address by Dr. Vandana Shiva, opening remarks by Hon. Lana Popham, BC Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, two movie screenings, a Q&A with Master Gardeners, local community discussions, poetry readings, a silent auction, and more.FarmFolk CityFolk
So lovely to have been part of this event. In case you missed the poetry readings, you can now watch and listen to the video poems HERE!
Sarah de Leeuw – October Chanterelling
Matt Rader – Garlic
Nancy Holmes – The Way We Are Made Of
Michelle Doege – Fields of Wheat
Fiona Tinwei Lam – August Raspberries
Yvonne Blomer – Rhubarb, Death in a Garden
Renée Sarojini Saklikar – Grandmother’s Instruction
Shelley Leedahl – Sometimes
John Barton Malus Pumila
Rhona McAdam – Wild Bees
Cornelia Hoogland – Seaweed
For more details about Seedy Saturday, please visit HERE.
I’m delighted to see a buzz gathering around the Poetry Phone, Vancouver’s first free poetry hotline. Here are a collection of interviews and articles delving deeper into this wonderful project:
What makes poetry pertinent to, or helpful amid, the times we’re living in, this period of isolation and worry?
I think like all art, poetry helps us connect: to our own emotions; to social issues; to the world around us.
The Poetry Phone project seeks to provide a connection to joy, to comfort, and also, like any good poem will do, to provoke and inspire.”
2020 has been a challenging year for many people, and it’s the small things that can bring joy to someone’s day,” says Charles Gauthier, CEO of the DVBIA, in the release. “The Poetry Phone is a simple way to bring a smile to people’s faces and celebrate the work of local artists.”
Give the line a ring, won’t you? #VanPoetryPhone
Pleased to be the curator of The Poetry Phone, Vancouver’s first free poetry hotline.
Callers can dial 1-833-POEMS-4-U (763-6748) to listen to poetry recordings provided by 10 local writers. After dialling the main line, callers can press numbers 0 to 9 to listen to different poems.
Thank you to the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) for supporting the launch of the wonderful project that celebrates the work of local Vancouver writers, and for bringing a new and accessible format of uplifting entertainment to anyone who has felt social isolation during the difficult times this past year.
Give the line a ring—I would love to hear what you think!
Honoured to have my ghost story x memoir essay “Man with Golden Helmet” featured in Issue 28 of Pulp Literature, set to launch on Facebook Live on November 7 at 2pm!