Finalist – 2014 Dorothy Livesay BC Book Prize
“Blending poetry and prose, Saklikar has made her own monument around which readers can gather, searching for dignity and meaning. Inconspicuously erected, Children of Air India is a Canadian literary sundial.”
– BC BookWorld
“The collection doesn’t seek to impose any answers, or suggest any recompense for the loss of so many innocent lives. It holds what details it can, preserves and honours them in a way official investigations failed to do.”
– Quill & Quire
“One of the most significant books of poetry produced in this place. A place it remakes. The scope of children of air india goes beyond event and into the realm of thought, knowledge, and how we must read and write absences forever present.”
“A heartbreaking debut collection. children of air india is a distillation of rage, grief, compassion and incomprehension into a Kaddish of the imagination, a song of witnessing, and indictment of indifference that also reads as a blessing for the dead. This is a voice that must be heard; this is the kind of poetry that teaches us how to be human.”
– Rachel Rose, author of Song and Spectacle.
“Tender without being sentimental, incisive without losing compassion, children of air india is part song, part family album, part legal document, part childhood attic. Saklikar’s rare gift is the ability to collect all these fragments to create a whole that is a lyrical and haunting palimpsest.”
– Sirish Rao, author and Artistic Director of Indian Summer Festival.
“This book is a sustained and articulate banshee scream, a well written wail against injustice, silence and indifference. Saklikar brings together all the research concerning Air India Flight 182 and imbues it with the emotional toll, the frantic pull of the heart, of a parent, a sibling, who must face the unthinkable horror and loss.”
The Bombing of Air India Flight 182
On June 23, 1985, an airplane exploded off the Irish coast, killing everyone on board: 329 passengers and crew, including 82 children under the age of 13. Including my aunt and uncle. The first completed sequence of poems from thecanadaproject explores the nature of personal loss situated in the midst of public trauma. What does it mean to lose loved ones in an act of murder? How does “terror” intersect with the terroire of a culture, appropriated, represented, claimed, disowned? My first book of poems, children of air india, explores these questions.
What is children of air india?
“Why does 9/11 resonate more strongly with Canadians than June 23, 1985?”
children of air india is a series of elegiac sequences exploring the nature of individual loss, situated within public trauma. The work is animated by a proposition: that violence, both personal and collective, produces continuing sonar, an echolocation that finds us, even when we choose to be unaware or indifferent.
This collection breaks new ground in its approach to the saga that is Canada/Air India, an event and its aftermath that is both over-reported and under-represented in our national psyche.
“329 deaths. 82 Children. Canada’s worst mass murder. The accused acquitted.
What does it mean to be Canadian and lose someone in Air India Flight 182?”
Why does 9/11 resonate more strongly with Canadians than June 23, 1985? The poems in this book search out answers in the “everything/ness and nothing/ness” of an act and its aftermath, revealing a voice that re-defines and re-visions.
Air India never happened. Air India always happens.