Shared Obsessions

by Vivek Shraya

Vivek Shraya is a Toronto-based artist whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. Her first book of poetry, even this page is white, won a 2017 Publisher Triangle Award and was longlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads. Her debut novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books, and her first children’s picture book, The Boy & the Bindi, was featured on the National Post Bestseller List. Vivek has read and performed inter­nationally at shows, festivals and post-secondary institutions, including sharing the stage with Tegan & Sara. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books.

As a writer and artist who has and continues to regularly submit work to various grants, journals, and publishers, I am intimate with the stresses involved, particularly the waiting. I have reminders of when I will be notified throughout my Google calendar, though the dates seem to be imprinted on an internal calendar that haunts me.

Given this, I take the honour of being a juror very seriously. I am grateful to The Puritan for giving me this opportunity to read through wonderful and thoughtful poetry submissions while becoming familiar with poets I hadn’t previously been exposed to. I also am grateful to all of you for taking the leap of faith required to write and submit your poetry for this issue.

To be transparent, there isn’t a singular theme to the collection I chose. Instead, I was narcissistically drawn to poems that echoed and explored my own obsessions: music (Isabelle Zhu), settler privilege (Eli Tareq Lynch, Renée Jackson-Harper), social media (Spenser Smith, Amy LeBlanc, Emily Skov-Nielsen), Monterey Jack cheese (Jenna Lyn Albert), and “the wonder of the body” (Nancy Jo Cullen, Nolan Natasha Pike). The style of these poems varies quite drastically, reminding me that it’s the fluidity of poetry that continues to draw me to the medium as a writer, and also what made this process so gratifying.

 


Vivek Shraya is a Toronto-based artist whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. Her first book of poetry, even this page is white, won a 2017 Publisher Triangle Award and was longlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads. Her debut novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books, and her first children’s picture book, The Boy & the Bindi, was featured on the National Post Bestseller List. Vivek has read and performed inter­nationally at shows, festivals and post-secondary institutions, including sharing the stage with Tegan & Sara. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books.

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