LAST week on Thursday Renée Sarojini Saklikar launched her first book of poetry, titled “Children of Air India: Un/authorized Exhibits and Interjections,” published by Nightwood Editions.
The event was hosted at Simon Fraser University’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
The evening was intimate, engaging and powerful as Renée read poems that reflected a personal story about her migration from India to Canada and across Canada and the bombing of Air India Flight 182 that killed all 329 passengers including 82 children, which, according to the event description, is “the aftermath of our country’s worst act of terrorism (which) is both over-reported and under-represented in our national psyche.”
Themes that wove into the discussion of the poems were myriad threads presented in non-absolutes of displacement, connection, traces of memory, the unspeakable, spaces and life itself. The “hegemonic narratives” of Air India and deconstructions of them were also illuminated.
Indeed, memories and impacts of Air India, as well as the hollow yet filled spaces of “trauma” will continue to resonate deeply in the minds of families who lost their loved ones in the Air India tragedy. It is through the gift and sacred space of poetry that remembering remains aflame and illuminates a responsibility for the voices of the unheard – 82 children of Air India Flight 182.