Sunday April 16, 2017

Doyali Islam and the poetry of stillness

Courtesy of

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Listen 11:51

When Canadian poet Doyali Islam was a little girl, her father had her play a game.  She and her sister were to sit quietly and listen so they might identify the sounds within a silence — the buzz of an appliance, a breath, a birdsong.

The experience taught her to appreciate the value of stillness.  And to this day it informs her poetry, which, she says, "points back to stillness or a something-beyond-language."

In 2015, Doyali won a Chalmers Arts Fellowship and CV2's Young Buck Poetry Prize. In 2016, she won Arc's Poem of the Year. Her poems have appeared in KROnline, Grain, and The Fiddlehead.

"Poems are small. They almost pass through the world unseen. And, I'm like that too. I'm small. Most of the time when I'm walking around or in transit, I feel almost invisible." - Doyali Islam

Her poem "cat and door", which is from her current poetry manuscript, "heft and sing", just won the League of Canadian Poets' Inaugural National Broadsheet Contest. Five of her poems are nominated for National Magazine Awards this year.

Doyali joined Michael to speak about her childhood, the role of poetry in political resistance, and why she became a practitioner of parkour. 

Doyali & Michael

Doyali Islam in our studio with host Michael Enright

Click 'listen' above to hear the interview.