Nanaimo poet laureate hopes to use poetry as a tool for healing

Photo by Dirk Heydemann from HA photography.
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Nanaimo council has appointed Kamal Parmar as the city’s poet laureate for 2021 – 2023.

Parmar is a Nanaimo-based poet and writer who experiments with Haiku poetry and creative non-fiction. Her poems explore a range of topics, from childhood recollections of her home in India, to the beauty of the Canadian prairies, to her personal journey, alongside her mother, through Alzheimer’s. 

“I’m delighted to welcome Kamal Parmar as the city’s poet laureate for the next two years. Poetry can inspire anyone to learn and grow and to observe the world around us with new eyes. With her focus on healing, Ms. Parmar will be a welcome voice in the community over the coming seasons,” said Mayor Leonard Krog.

Parmar aims to raise the profile of poetry in Nanaimo and activate poetry as a tool for healing and increased connection between people of all ages. She said she “firmly believes that each of us has some subtle form of poetry in us, which needs to be explored.”

As poet laureate, Parmar will serve as a literary ambassador for the city and participate in civic events by presenting works that are relevant to life in the community. Nanaimo poet laureates are invited to produce at least one new work each year that is relevant to life in Nanaimo and to help disseminate that work to the public, according to the city. 

She has been involved in the life of the cultural community in Nanaimo for many years. She has frequently presented poems at venues across Vancouver Island, was involved with the City of Nanaimo’s Culture Committee and more recently with Nanaimo Arts Council. 

She is an active member of several provincial and national writers’ organizations and guilds. Currently, she is an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets and is a board member of the Federation of BC Writers. She is also a member of Haiku Canada, the Writers Union of Canada and the Canadian Authors Association. 

Parmar’s work has been published in the UK, Canada and India. Her books include ‘Still Waters‘ (2020), ‘Letters to a Son and a Daughter’ (2019), ‘In the Rising Mist’ (2013), ‘Fleeting Shadows’ (2010), and ‘Filigree and Flint’ (1997).

Past City of Nanaimo poet laureates include Tina Biello and Naomi Beth Wakan, according to the city.

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