Port of Being

A poetry book by Shazia Hafiz Ramji.

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)

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

FEMA coffins

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.


Why Shazia Hafiz Ramji wrote Port of Being

"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."

Read more in Shazia Hafiz Ramji's interview with CBC Books.

Interviews with Shazia Hafiz Ramji



To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?