‘Clear-eyed warrior friend. (gracias a la vida)’ by Sana Janjua

sana-2017in wilderness of solitude

people intellectualize: exile, poverty, torture. my friend doesn’t. for years on end, there is no sharing of personal stories that may have caused tears. in the piece i am posting below, she writes, “tears are irrelevant in this place”, when in her company i sob, incessantly, as afghanistan’s farkhanda is murdered, syria’s kurdi washes up on the coast, pakistan’s taseer takes the bullet. there are times when i just know i have to go to her, and she listens, often without looking at me.

cathartic writing is de facto primal, fauzia has always said to me, and crying adheres only to the beginning of the process of writing. crying, she doesn’t denounce, but sees as part of the process, seminal but not central. there are many people who cry as they write, and every word causes a downpour of the big wave. post-crying, the swarm of bees, references of personal associations with the subject, clear; clarity sets in; a poem/story takes off. i don’t understand what she means; i just respond to the emotion, and the sense of justice it is tied to.

then, here and there: a few stories appear: personal political, or political personal. through the apertures, i learn a thing or two about the exile, the torture, and the poverty. bereft of the lived experience, i contemplate what such terms we host in the often too intellectualized spaces really mean, and can’t get past the “factory-farmed” meanings. yet, there is no crying, just ongoing solidarity with those who we pathologize, and take pictures of, often without asking, to adorn our own sense of charity. surrey muse is un-funded, singularly imagined to create spaces for all kinds of people, especially those who don’t have a space to go to, and this is her vision; the rest of us founding members haven’t found another working formula to wrestle white privilege, and structural ghettoization* of writers of color, especially the ones fighting for the means to move to the end, any end: a small chapbook, self-published, with one’s name entering an imagined canon of sorts.

she writes, in 2015, an autobiographical story about her love for flowers, in telling a tale that is otherwise seeped in the history of violence against the people of color, and the treatment refugees receive in canada, which she ends with a comparison between herself, and a minority in Pakistan/a black man in the US/an Aboriginal female in Canada. yet again, she doesn’t cry for herself, or for others for that matter. here too, the stress is on the struggles of other people: a comparison that hierarchically puts her in a place of power, invisibilizing her own struggles, at once cognizant of her own privilege of what she can do and another can’t.

how can you cry when you write a poem on blasphemy?
or white supremacy? or religious extremism? or the duress which silences, shames, strips us of dignity? you just reveal your small brown frame, and say: i am here, like farkhanda, writing from the niche i created myself, standing amidst the surveillance points, thinking past the hallucinatory states, in clear-eyed solidarity.

i am so proud of my friend. i love her. and, i love the work she does. silently.

The link to her post:
Memory Wall on the Strip: a Mirror for the Officials of the City of Surrey

*(forgive me, if you are sensitive about the term, and see it in the exclusive framing of the african american people’s struggles, but this post is in solidarity with those struggles, and accept my gratitude for seeing it that way.)

From Sana’s facebook timeline, December 31st, 23:06.
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Writer Sonja Grgar

Sonja Grgar has had her work published in newspapers, and broadcast on the creative art programs on Kingston’s CFRC 101.9 FM Radio. A selection of Sonja’s work will be published in an Ontario based poetry and prose anthology titled “That Not Forgotten”. The anthology will be published by the North Shore Series/Hidden Brook Press, and is slated to launch in the summer/fall of this year.

Sonja has recently returned to the Lower Mainland after living in Kingston, Ontario, for over a decade. She has nurtured a passion for writing her entire life, and up until recently, has mainly explored it in the academic and journalistic settings. She is now developing her creative writing with focus on poetry, essays, and short stories.

Sonja is passionate about exploring many different creative and critical approaches to writing, and is enthusiastic about the prospect of building up her creative community in Surrey and Metro Vancouver.

View one of her recent report on a literary event:
Feb 24 Surrey Muse
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Poet Daniela Elza

DANIELA ELZA has lived on three continents and crossed numerous geographic, cultural and semantic borders. Her work has been published in more than fifty literary and peer-reviewed publications and to date she has released more than 200 poems into the wor(l)d.

In 2011 Daniela received her doctorate in Philosophy of Education from Simon Fraser University and launched her first e-Book, The Book of It (now also available in print).

Daniela’s poetry collection the weight of dew was just published by Mother Tongue Publishing, March 2012.

Contact Daniela at: daniela@livingcode.org

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WIN Hearts and Souls for Literary Harmony: 2012 Awards

First inaugural Literary Festival of

Writers International Network (WIN)

held Saturday, March 24 at Richmond Cultural Centre.

This event brought together over 150 people including writers of diverse backgrounds and genres. The objective of this event was to recognize talent and to bring writers of all Colours into mainstream Canadian literature, and to provide an opportunity to network.

Ashok Bhargava, founder of Writers International Network says:
‘WIN will strive to unite the hearts and souls of writers to bring creativity, knowledge and joy to them. An artist’s gift to the world is a poem, story, painting, sculpture or dance. WIN will seek, nourish and recognize all sorts of artists so that together they can make this world a better place to live. Writing is an art that is deeply rooted in self-reflection. Self-reflection is the human capacity to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about our fundamental nature, purpose and essence. In other words, self reflection is who we see when we look in the mirror. Self reflection is also about taking the time to figure out who we are, both as individuals and as leaders.  WIN is created to fulfil the need of an environment where the work of an artist is appreciated and recognized no matter what background, what language or what cultural heritage that artist belongs to.’

Mr. Bhargava’s personal conviction is to create an organization where poets, writers and artists can connect with each other and with the community at large. ‘If you are a writer you belong here’, he says. ‘There is no membership and no fees and WIN is there to recognize and appreciate your creativity. Wow, that sounds great! The essence of writing is in giving to the world something to read. We write without knowing if someone would read it or not. It doesn’t matter if they love or hate it; you are going to write it anyway. If we appreciate a writer’s work and recognize it on its own merit, it would lift an incredible weight off his/her shoulder and make him or her happy.’

Bhargava’s greatest dream is to see the results of his creative work and everyone else’s work to realize their utopia in this world. To realize that a writer’s immediate environment is the training ground for the soul and the spirit of his or her writing world. Every day there’s work to be done to improve thoughts, actions and writing skills. He says, ‘If WIN could inspire just one person through appreciation and recognition that would be a true moment of miracle for it’s existence.’

WIN believes that we must write what we want to write not what others want us to write. Writing is self expression and must not be driven by commercialism though of course being successful commercially does not hurt at all.

WIN awards are to recognize, appreciate and understand the author. These awards are not based on comparing one’s work with others and determining the winner but understanding what a writer is saying and recognizing the message the author is trying to convey. In other words, writers are recognized for the real merit of their work.

Award categories are – Published writers and poets, Unpublished writers and poets, Emerging Artists (poets, writers, artists, dancers, painters etc), People’s Laureate, and Outstanding Citizens.

This year’s award recipients are: Evelyn Lau, Ariadne Swayer, Ashok Bhargava, Joanne Arnott, Ahn Bong Ja, Manga Basi, Fauzia Rafique, Janet Kvammen, Brajinder Dhillon, Tomothy Shay, Alan Hill and Mahendra Kwatra.

WIN’s First Literary Festival was hosted by Writers International Network in collaboration with India Club of Vancouver. WIN is also thankful for support provided by:
Indo-Canadian Association of Abbotsford
South Asian Literary Society of Canada
Urdu Association
Hindi Literary Society
Panjabi Lekhak Munch
Kendriya Lakhari Sabha Uttari America
BC Kavya Kendra
Chetna Association
Group of Poets International
Tagore Society of Vancouver
Nepali Writers Group
Pandora’s Collective
Poetic Justice
World Poetry Reading Series
Global Poetry
Poetry Beyond Cultures

Short biographies of 2012 winners will follow.

Contact Ashok Bhargava at:
bhargava2000@yahoo.com

First Annual Literary Festival – Canada’s Best 2012 Awards: March 24

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The 1st Annual Literary Festival
Writers International Network
Saturday, March 24, 2012
12.30 PM to 4.30 PM
Richmond Cultural Centre/Library
7700 Minoru Gate Richmond, BC
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The event brings together writers of diverse backgrounds and genre to develop better appreciation and fuller awareness of the art of creative writing. The objective of this event is to provide an opportunity to network, socialise and to recognize talent.


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More info:
Call Ashok Bhargava
604-327-6040

Invocation and welcoming address
Ashok Bhargava
Featured Poets/Writers
Candice James, Bonnie Nish, Manolis Aligizakis, Eva Waldauf, Sylvia Taylor, Meharoona Ghani, Bernice Lever, Michelle Rickaby, Bernice Lever, Theresa Chevalier, Ben Nuttal-Smith, Patricia Donahue and Alejandro Mujica-Olea
South Asian features
S.P. Dwivedi, Suresh Kurl, Ehsan Choudhary, Inderjit Sidhu, Madhu Varshney, Mankajee Shreshtha, Surjeet Kalsy and Hardev Sodhi “Ashk”
Open Mic
Bonnie Quan Symons, Avia Mana, Farina Reinprecht, Angela Edwards, Ibrahim Honjo, Una Bruhns, Sho Wiley, Patricia Donahue, Jacqueline Maire, Lilija Valis, Selene Bertelson and Ceri Naz
Award Presentations
Evelyn Lau, Joanne Arnott, Brajinder Dhillon, Ariadne Sawyer, Manja Basi, Bong Ja Ahn, Timothy Shay, Janet Kvammen, Fauzia Rafique and Alan Hill
Readings by Award Recipients
Evelyn Lau, Joanne Arnott, Brajinder Dhillon, Ariadne Sawyer, Manga Basi, Bong Ja Ahn, Timothy Shay, Janet Kvammen, Fauzia Rafique and Alan Hill
Hosts
Lucia Gorea and Reese McBeth

Tagore Dance by Arno Komalika
Award Presentations
Snacks and Socialize

For more information
Ashok Bhargava 604-327-6040
Lucia Gorea 604-441-0169
Alan Hill 604-276-4391
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