July 16: Mid-Summer Write-A-Thon

Come join me for a day of writing and inspiration!

“The event runs from 9:30-4:30 (PST), including an Open Mic from 3:30-4:30 for anyone who wants to read or perform what they worked on during the Write-a-Thon (or something else they have created).

On event day, you will sign in to the Zoom meeting ready to write and to be inspired. We suggest having everything ready to work on a piece of writing. That means bring your notebook, your favourite pen, your laptop, your headphones, and whatever else you need to be productive. Some people will be spending their time writing letters to friends, others will be working on the first draft of a novel, and some will be working on school assignments. You are free to work on whatever you want. “

LCP Chapbook Series: AHVAZ // AAVAZ // AVAAZ: A Chapbook Anthology of South Asian Poetry


Proud to be a contributor to this amazing anthology alongside poets Manahil Bandukwala, Gavin Barrett, Farah Ghafoor, Meharoona Ghani, Maryam Gowralli, Laboni Islam, Saakshi Patel, Ayaz Pirani, Fauzia Rafique, Amritpal Singh Arora, and Sanna Wani.

Here’s an introduction by editor Shazia Hafiz Ramji:

It is with immense Brown joy that I’ve had the privilege of bringing together a range of South Asian voices in celebration of Asian Heritage Month for the League of Canadian Poets.

The poets in Ahvaz / Aavaz / Avaaz dwell in the liminality of what it means to be “South Asian” on Turtle Island and elsewhere. From thinking about lineage at Safeway to sounding Bangla, the poets in this collection offer us haraami poems, garam garam poems, and ocean poems to speak to and with the vibrant polyphony of our diaspora and communities.”

–Shazia Hafiz Ramji, editor

April 24: National Poetry Month Chapbook Launch and Celebration

Join the League of Canadian Poets for a National Poetry Month celebration of the LCP Chapbook Series!

When: Sunday, April 24, 4pm ET

Where: Zoom (Register here)

Celebrating chapbooks published with the LCP Chapbook Series since Spring 2020:

  • Leap, the Lesley Strutt Memorial Chapbook for emerging poets over 40
  • The way out is the way in: an anthology of disabled poets
  • You are a Flower Growing Off the Side of a Cliff: poems about mental health and resiliency
  • What Has Been Left Out, the 2020 Feminist Caucus Living Archive chapbook
  • Voices of Quebec/Les voix du Quebec
  • The Time After: Poetry from Atlantic Canada
  • I am what becomes of broken branch: a collection of voices by Indigenous Poets in Canada

And launching two upcoming chapbooks:

  • AHVAZ // AAVAZ // AVAAZ: A Chapbook Anthology of South Asian Poetry
  • The Compassionate Poet: An Exploration, the 2021 Feminist Caucus Living Archives chapbook (Delighted to have edited this!)

Featuring short readings from each chapbook, and appearances from poets and editors, so join us tomorrow!

The Feminist Caucus in Conversation series 2022

Image: League of Canadian Poets

The Feminist Caucus in Conversation series is an annual chapbook and audio project from the League of Canadian Poets. In this project, listen to members of the LCP Feminist Caucus interview each other on topics including poetry (naturally), shared identities, the writing process, family, politics, and more.

In the 2022 series, poets explore the concept of compassionate feminism. These are tough times we live in: pandemic inequities and our climate change emergency, and the ongoing pain of racial and economic injustice, act as clarion calls to action.

How can the essentially solitary act of making poems be sustained by a community of feminists who respect, admire and are curious about one another? How might feminist poets enact these qualities as interactions with each other? How might we as poets practice self-care and take care of each other?

Episode 1: January 12, 2022 – With Renée Sarojini Saklikar, Heather Birrell and Phoebe Wang

Episode 2: January 19, 2022 — With Renée Sarojini Saklikar, Margo LaPierre and Grace Lau

Episode 3: January 26, 2022 — With Renée Sarojoni Saklikar, Tara Borin and Molly Cross-Blanchard

The full 3-part series can also be viewed HERE: https://poets.ca/fcconversationseries/ 

Nov.25-27:  Virtual Events with Meet The Presses

Honoured to be a new member of the Meet The Presses Collective, and to participate in three days of small press festivities. Join us!

bpNichol Chapbook Award Announcement Gala

  • Thursday, November 25th at 7pm EST

Press Clips

  • Friday, November 26th at 7pm EST
  • Join us for a screening of a compilation of videos of small presses from across Canada sharing who they are and what they do!

Small Press Silent Reading Book Club with Vickie Ziegler

  • Saturday, November 27th at 2pm EST

Please note that the Zoom link will be sent out via email one hour before each event. Reach out to 2meetthepresses@gmail.com with any questions.

Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can and all donations are incredibly appreciated. Meet the Presses is an all volunteer collective, and all funds go towards supporting our activities and future events.

Nov 17: Lunch Poems Online with Kelly Rose Pflug-Back & Natasha Ramoutar

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 Kelly Rose Pflug-Back & Natasha Ramoutar.

Lunch Poems Nov 2021

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.

Register Online for Free Here

Nov 17: The Nuance of Poetry Editing with Editors BC 

I’ll be hosting a virtual talk and workshop at the next Editors BC monthly meeting, titled “The Nuances of Poetry Editing.”

When: Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 7:30–8:30 pm PST
Where: Online through Zoom
Cost: Free for Editors BC members and student affiliates; $10 for non-members; $5 for non-member students

Got questions and short poetry examples? Send them to Madeline Walker at bcprograms@editors.ca by November 10 so I can respond to them during the talk, as time permits.

Nov 14: Poetry in Canada Virtual Launch

Save the date! Poetry in Canada is a new project that creates space for writers, educators, visitors, and poetry enthusiasts alike to share, research, perform, and cultivate widespread appreciation for poetry.

The event will feature readings by Larissa Lai, rob mclennan, Joanne Arnott, and Erin Mouré.

Nov 12: Planet Poetry Reading at Russell Books

Delighted to be the feature reader at Russell Books at 747 Fort Street in Victoria this Nov 12, reading from my epic fantasy in verse, Bramah and The Beggar Boy. Susan Braley will be the Poetic Opener.

I’ll be introducing Bramah, the hero of my saga, a time-travelling locksmith who joins with seed savers and orphans battling the evil Consortium. Themes include climate change and climate justice; global inequality; and an exploration of family origins. The poetry incorporates formal epic traditions plus a love story for the ages.

Doors open at 7:00pm, event begins at 7:30pm. Sign up for the open mic between 7:00 and 7:15. As per the latest provincial health orders, the event will require all attendees to wear masks and to bring proof of vaccination. Hope to see you there!

August 21: Poetry in the Park Finale

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!

New epic fantasy by Writer’s Studio grad lands on B.C. bestsellers list – SFU Continuing Studies

Renee Saklikar - Portrait - July 2017
Photo by Sandra Vander Schaaf.

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.’”

Thank You, Reader Reviewers!

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

Amble through the world of poetry this summer…

Thanks to Anny Scoones at the Times Colonist for mentioning Bramah and The Beggar Boy (along with other poetry collections!)

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.”

Read the Full Article Here

Wax Poetic, at Vancouver Coop Radio

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!

Bramah & The Beggar Boy Debuts on BC Book Bestsellers List

Bramah and The Beggar Boy THOT J BAP cover

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

CBC Books: 55 Canadian poetry collections to check out in spring 2021

Thrilled to have my upcoming epic fantasy in verse, Bramah and the Beggar Boy, on this amazing CBC Books feature:

Bramah and the Beggar Boy is a poetry collection by Renée Sarojini Saklikar. (Nightwood Editions, Allison Taylor)

Poet Renée Sarojini Saklikar kicks off a multi-part series about survivors of ecological destruction with Bramah and the Beggar BoyInspired 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.”

VanDusen Garden Speaker Series: Listening to the Bees

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

Register for the Event Here

March 28: The BC and Yukon Book Prize Storied Series

Honoured to be the event moderator for the Storied Series on March 28—looking forward to a great discussion with Vici Johnstone, publisher at Caitlin Press; Scott Steedman, editor and publishing consultant; and Meghan O’Neill, marketing strategist at Page Two Books.

Registration Available Here

‘The Summons’ face masks created as fundraiser for Surrey Art Gallery Association

From the Surrey News Leader:

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.

Feb 20-21: Virtual Seedy Saturday Conference

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.

On the Poetry Phone, Vancouver’s first free poetry hotline

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:

Click to Read the Full Q&A.

A Q&A at Stir: Arts and Culture Vancouver

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.”

Click to read the full article.

Vancouver Is Awesome

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.”

On the Coast with Gloria Macarenko

Click to listen to the interview.

News1130: Poetry Hotline Launches in Vancouver

Click to view the full video.

Give the line a ring, won’t you? #VanPoetryPhone

Vancouver’s First Poetry Phone Launches

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!

Visit Here to Learn More

June 15: Lunch Poems with Lucia Misch and RC Weslowski

Lunch Poems is a unique opportunity to celebrate poetry that takes place the third Wednesday of every month, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m in the Teck Gallery at SFU Harbour Centre.

This month’s reading features poets Lucia Misch and RC Weslowski:

Lunch Poems June 2022

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.

Register To Attend for Free Here

Bramah and the Beggar Boy at The Malahat Review

Such a pleasure to see a review of Bramah and the Beggar Boy (Thank you Manahil Bandukwala!) in The Malahat Review.