Port of Being
Shazia Hafiz Ramji
Voyeurism and fact go head to head in Port of Being, a debut book of poetry that mines speech from the city streets and the internet. These are poems set firmly on the threshold of the private and public, the future-haunted and the real, forging the human adrift in a terrain of space junk, drones and addiction. Port of Being speaks just in time, navigating the worlds of surveillance, migration and money, only to carve a way into intimacy and connection. (From Invisible Publishing)
- Best Canadian poetry of 2018
- 15 Canadian books to read on International Women's Day
- Why Shazia Hafiz Ramji writes poetry about modern-day surveillance and addiction
- Shazia Hafiz Ramji's favourite Canadian book of 2018: Original Prin by Randy Boyagoda
- 19 Canadian writers to watch in 2019
From the book
Not long ago a soybean field
Five-hundred thousand disposable
Casket liners too big for one body
Plans for mass graves
Private property on Madison
Whatever the term is
Liners for archival storage
A global virus concealed
From settling and sinking
Square lids for stacking
Handled and interred
Material cared for
From 100 Plastic Containers for Human Corpses in Port of Being by Shazia Hafiz Ramji ©2018. Published by Invisible.
"About a year later, I lost my job and I was really depressed. I've experienced depression before and I'm a recovering addict, so I knew that what helped me in the past was listening — whether that was to people or music — and walking the city. But this time, I was too depressed to go out of the house and make field recordings — things like going out in the forest and capturing sounds of birds and nature like I used to.
Writing this was cathartic for sure, but it was also a revelation to acknowledge the things that I've been through.- Shazia Hafiz Ramji
"I was working through what had happened to me through the poetry and coming at it from a slant. It was a bit scary to have my emotions out there — especially when it came to the poems about addiction and stalking. I hadn't really told anyone and my parents did not know how serious my addiction truly was.
"Writing this was cathartic for sure, but it was also a revelation to acknowledge the things that I've been through. Before this book, I was honestly trying to subdue them and not to confront them. I gradually move to a more direct confrontation toward the end of the book."
Interviews with Shazia Hafiz Ramji