My Poetry Foundation Interview with Paolo Javier

R-Saklikar-Surrey-Poet-Laureate-photo-by-J-Janzen
Image by J Janzen

Now live, my interview on Poetry Foundation’s blog “Harriet” with guest editor Paolo Javier, former poet laureate of Queens, NY. Here’s an excerpt:

PJ: …Could we talk about your formative years in Surrey/New West? Specifically, when did you start writing poetry, and who were your early inspirations? I imagine living in New West, which is a stone’s throw from the Fraser River, must have some influence in terms of your notion of, well…I’ll let you take it from here.

RSS: I love that phrase, “formative years”: they seem to take the long view with me. Heh. I’ve always had this chronicle-compulsion, just didn’t realize for a long time, that my addiction to writing things down was part of a writing practice, was what defined me as a writer: images, sounds, rhythms, always these were in-coming to me and I took them, language-bits: held, rubbed, stored, taken-out again. My father reading me Mother Goose Nursery rhymes, me, a copy-cat, inventing my own. Scribbling.

So, early inspirations: fairy-tales, nursery rhymes, TV adverts, street signage, dictionaries, the sound of my parents’ speaking/arguing in English-Gujarati (my mother’s mother tongue); the sound of how Other People spoke.

New West when I grew up there, was a well-settled place in the sense of its relation to the colonial history of the province, The Royal City, and as the daughter of a United Church Minister, I settled into place, if that makes sense. My first book, children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections (Nightwood Editions, 2013), explores this idea a fair bit…

And yes, always, the river: I can’t get away from it. Every time I cross The Fraser into/out of Surrey, I have to look up, look at those grey waters, effluent-filled, that deep undertow current: I grew up hearing stories about the grasp of that current, how she’d take you in…”

Read Our Conversation Here

Lunch Poems at SFU: Christine Stewart and Peter Quartermain

Christine Stewart & Peter Quartermain

Lunch Poems is a SFU Public Square program, connecting the city with poets – a great place to bring your lunch and your questions about poetry. There’s always a Q & A after the reading.

The light in the Teck Gallery at SFU’s Harbour Centre Campus is beautiful, the vibe is friendly and relaxed.

And we always end on time.

Learn More Here

March 10: Surrey Poet Laureate Writing Consults

I’ll be doing another writing consultation this Friday at the Semiahmoo Arts Centre in South Surrey.

Semiahmoo Arts Centre
Image from http://www.semiahmooarts.com/

Renée will read your manuscript before your 45-minute meeting. At the meeting, she may provide you with suggestions about editing, how to publish your work, and how to work with editors and publishers. “

Visit the Surrey Library website to schedule a session. I look forward to reading your work!