Tereza Verenca / New West Record interviews me about writing and trauma

‘An incredible journey for which I feel gratitude’

The Record caught up with award-winning author Renée Saklikar to talk about her poetry collection, her upcoming writing workshop and more…

Renée Saklikar will be hosting a writing workshop at Anvil Centre on Sept. 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. The award-winning author will be talking about her book Children of Air India: Un/authorized Exhibits and Interjections (Nightwood Editions, 2013) and how the narrative strategies she uses helps with personal trauma. – READ MORE HERE

“4. Talk about your approach to invention strategies and how it’s been able to allow you to tell these stories.
This is what I hope to encourage people to contemplate in their own writing. I’ve found through my research that sentiment can be a real problem when you’re writing your own trauma story because too easily, it becomes about cliché, and it can actually shut your readership out. So how do you get distance from sentiment and get to emotion, which is different. Think about persona. I created this persona where I used the letter N for niece, for narrator. That put distance between me, Renée Saklikar and who I wanted to create, so that I could invite the reader in to go on this journey.” READ MORE HERE

In the Rehearsal: “there’s a kind of hush around the date”

air india [redacted]: rehearsals at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre.

Four days in: libretto and music score, text and archive, singers and composer, conductor and director, and me, the poet.

The time it takes to enter into rhythm, tone, cadence. When artists gather and do the work.

That quality of an atmosphere, built up, by delving into detail.

This afternoon, when Owen said, “then we can feel the 8th notes underneath,”

I thought about language, fluid and solid, about the power of music, about time and its dimensions.

In the Rehearsal: day one, singing the archive

At the Wong Theatre, SFU WW: the score is in concert pitch (Jurgen Simpson); the singers are Canadian countertenor Daniel Cabena, bass Alexander Dobson, and soprano Tharanga Goonetilleke (New York) with Vancouver soprano Heather Pawsey and pianst Kinsa, conducted by Owen Underhill, under the direction of Tom Creed.

This is air india [redacted], live and unplugged. And then there’s media artist, John Galvin, with whom I enter, again, the archive: spreading out along the wood benches, Wong Theatre perimeter, my thirty-year collection: frayed newspaper clippings, the smell of old printer’s ink…during afternoon rehearsal, when Tom walks us through Jurgen’s score, I leave the documents in John’s care. Three decades worth of–

air india redacted day one rehearsal 005