If the subject – here, the writer of colour – is unaware of the absence of speech, then where does he/she begin? Or, as Roy Miki asks, “How, then, to begin, to begin?” – an excerpt from the final essay I wrote for Dr. Smaro Kamboureli’s graduate English class at University of Toronto end April 2015.
On 24th November 2015, I was invited by Dr. Jing Jing Chang to give a short talk to her undergrad class on Bollywood films at Wilfrid Laurier University. The talk addresses my existence as a South Asian person/academic/artist in Canada, and negotiating that identity through creative writing and academia.
The talk ends with a performance of my most recent work of poetry, “elephant in the room.”
Since I don’t completely despise how I sound, here is the talk in its entirety:
I read Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of the Sublime and Beautiful in my third year undergrad Romantics class. For the misguided, no, this was not a class on love. The Romantic era refers to a time period in literary history that saw a reactionary revolt against the industrial revolution in the latter half of the 18th century in Europe. Most noted poets who come to mind are Keats, Coleridge and Wordsworth.
But back to Burke. His concept of sublime never quite left my consciousness. The idea of extreme ecstasy coupled with extreme pain. The ultimate moment of sublime. To me, unending longing can create this moment in infinite loops.
So, I wrote a poem. Deconstructed sublime, as I saw fit.
My poem, “Sublime,” is now in Red Poppy Review. You can read it here.