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Behind the Poem: “N’s evening raga,” from children of air india

Renée Sarojini Saklikar's collection, children of air india, is a finalist for the 2014 BC Book Prize's Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. In her Quill & Quire review, Natalie Zina Walschots writes:

"The book is a testament, both vulnerable and damning. The poems replicate various personal and public responses to the [1985 Air India] attack: exhibits, archival objects, invocations. Saklikar wrestles with vast, devastating emotions, while at the same time gently cradling individual lives, allowing them to stand as their own record of loss. One victim “plays ice hockey,” another wears “black socks” of “fine-gauge wool.” Saklikar pairs the erasure of the victims’ bodies with the redaction of details in official documents and the retraction of evidence in court."

Here, Renée Sarojini Saklikar shares the story of one particular poem, which provides insight into the collection as a whole.


Witness Statement: “… and of the poem, its boundaries and prohibitions—“

In the five-year process of writing children of air india, “N’s evening raga” was one of the first transcriptions to be set down on paper. I remember this poem’s arrival: evening, late spring, I am at my desk in my office overlooking the Fraser River. I turn away from the computer scre …

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