It is our pleasure to introduce the judge for this year’s Magpie Award for Poetry, Surrey BC’s Poet Laureate Renée Sarojini Saklikar.
Renée Sarojini Saklikar writes thecanadaproject, a life-long poem chronicle. Work from the project appears in journals, anthologies and chapbooks. Renée’s first book, children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, (Nightwood Editions, 2013) won the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry and was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award.
Renée is currently a mentor and instructor for Simon Fraser University, and co-founder of the poetry reading series, Lunch Poems at SFU. With Wayde Compton, Renée co-edited The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2015). She is currently at work on the long poem, “Thot-J-Bap”, excerpts of which can be found in Eleven Eleven, The Capilano Review, DUSIE and The Rusty Toque, as well as in chapbooks published by Nous-Zot and above/ground presses.
Renée is the inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey and the 2017 UBC Okanagan Writer in Residence. She collects poems about bees.
We are delighted to have Renée onboard as the Magpie Award judge. Thank you, Renée!
The 4th annual Magpie Award for Poetry is open until April 15th. Contest guidelines here.
Readers of Pulp Literature will know the high standards of quality that go into every page. That attention to detail is the result of hard effort from many talented people, including our proofreader, Dr Mary Rykov. We became friends with Mary in Issue 2, when we printed her wonderful poem, “A Siren’s Tale.” Since then, Mary has done the final polish on each issue and we only wish she lived closer!
Today we’d like to congratulate Mary on her full scholarship to Sage Hill, where she will enjoy a 10-day poetry residency with Steven Heighton. This is an honour and congratulations are in order! To find our more about Mary and her work as a poet, editor, or music therapist, visit maryrykov.com.
We are thrilled that George McWhirter, Vancouver’s first Poet Laureate, has agreed to judge Pulp Literature’s Magpie Award for Poetry for a second time.
Last year’s finalists received not only his approbation, but in-depth and often extensive comments from a leader in the world of Canadian Literature.
We are most grateful and honoured to BC’s much-honoured poet, novelist, editor, and translator for saying yes to year 2 of the contest.
The closing date for entries to the Magpie Award for Poetry is April 15.
Here you will find an excerpt of George McWhirter’s superb translation of “Solar Poems” by Homero Aridjis, at blogcitylights.
And here you will find a copy of his stunning poem “My Mother’s Red Shawl” on Alex Waterhouse Hayward’s blog.
The deadline for Magpie Poetry Award entries is this coming Sunday, June 15th. With the pressure now on, we’d like to offer you this poetic gift from contest judge George McWhirter:
On the Globe Maple
Our globe put on such a leaf-dress, such puffy pantaloons,
only for those clothes to fall, get gathered up and put away
by us autumn widows and widowers, no longer allowed
to burn organic garments,
and with no compost room left to let them rot.
Easier to give them away to the city
in a bin — glad to do so, despite that blinding blur
the globe wore with its full jewelry of September sunlight
(no summer modesty of limbs, clothed in green anonymity, then —
or the tight taciturnity of young spring bud). Patiently
we packed away those arboreal duds, waiting for the next discards
on our boulevard – espoused
as we were to a globe maple the city shot-gunned
us into accepting and slowly, reluctantly loving
to live in its shade and shelter, held up politely
like an umbrella whenever we got in or out of the car.
But I’m not sure we ever looked forward to its coming out,
the Persephone performance, each year, after the spell
of its sap’s cessation in hell. Especially after its lopsided
growth, too oblong for its roots and hefty trousseaux of snow,
piled on (to have us recant our wanting a cherry tree instead),
which broke it down to a crescent, an icing-coated croissant,
a third of its former self. The rest lay, distressing us in the gutter,
a gowling globe till the city came and chain-sawed
a final separation for us, leaving the bulk of the wood.
We will bask soon in that settlement, by the fire,
after giving ourselves a little space — on the boulevard.
Who better to judge our inaugural Magpie Award for Poetry, than Vancouver’s inaugural Poet Laureate, George McWhirter?
The much-lauded poet, novelist, translator and editor has been instrumental in the development of BC’s literary scene, both as a long-time editor and advisor at PRISM international, and as a well-loved professor and Head of the Creative Writing department at UBC. He has been awarded too many prizes for writing and teaching to list here, and we are thrilled and honoured that he has agreed to judge our first ever contest.
For a small sample of his vast body of work see this poem on the blog of Alex-Waterhouse Hayward (whom we have to thank for putting us in touch).
The closing date for entries for the Magpie Award for Poetry is 15 June 2014. Contest guidelines are here.
To celebrate the start of our first Magpie Award poetry contest, let me honour Max Plater, a poet from my very first writer’s group who passed along the best writing advice I ever received: trust your reader. As I continue to work through the submissions pile in our inbox, it is clear in the first paragraph which writers have learned to trust and respect their audience’s ability to perceive and follow the delicate rabbit trail. The writers with a true voice, that elusive quality so much sought and praised, reveal an intense intimacy and vulnerability (even if it is only leaked through the cracks.) Lesser writers smack of explanation, of grand action spelled with capital letters, and leave no room for lingering footnotes in the reader’s mind. The Golden Rule of Writing is this: trust your reader as you trust yourself. A writer must dig inside his own soul, wrestle with his art, and dare to go all the way down the rabbit hole. Because if he does, we’ll follow.
Above dry canyons where our worlds meet
not one word is lost between us
We step across them on a string bridge.
–Max Plater, Winter Fires (1998, Exile Editions)