Shazia Hafiz Ramji

Shazia Hafiz Ramji is a poet from Vancouver.
Shazia Hafiz Ramji is a poet based in Vancouver. (Invisible Publishing)

Shazia Hafiz Ramji published her debut book, Port of Being, in 2018. The poetry collection is a smart and often sinister look into the many ways we are surveilled — online, on the street, by the government or otherwise. The book was shortlisted for the 2019 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. The Vancouver-based poet and writer has contributed to publications like Quill & Quire, Canadian Literature and The Puritan.

CBC Books named Ramji a writer to watch in 2019.

Books by Shazia Hafiz Ramji

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

Shazia Hafiz Ramji hasn't had an easy life. But she's translated it beautifully onto the page. 16:40


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.