What Does the Wind Say? by Kamal Parmar

It seems fitting to have read Kamal Parmar’s latest collection of poetry, What Does the Wind Say? as we settle very firmly into fall on the east coast. Centred around time, memory, and the change of seasons, Parmar has put together a collection that has us walk down the path of time, watch it pass and change, and be mystified by how it gets ahead of us. Parmar layers changing seasons with an anthropomorphized Time to examine the different facets of time and how we interact with them in this collection. It’s a short collection but impactful: Parmar reflects on ageing and youth; warmer seasons give way to winter. There’s a lot of repeated imagery in these poems, though it never crosses over into feeling tired. Instead, Parmar’s poems feel familiar and cozy, examining these themes through different lenses and revisiting different tropes over multiple poems.

The titular poem is a perfect example of the thoughtful way Parmar uses seasonal images to explore emotions:

It begins to snow and I am sucked in its deep silence, 

looking for answers that never come.

Parmar is alternately kind and sharp in these poems, flatly reminding us “There are no replays here,” in the poem “Pondering,” while tenderly remembering a father in “Many years have rolled by”:

Sitting in one corner of the living room, 

is a cushioned chair that no one sits on. 

It is empty. 

It will always be empty, 

because it was Dad’s chair.

This brief but comforting collection of poems is poignant in the nicest possible way, and especially so during the COVID-19 period in which time feels very strange. A touching and mindful collection of work.

Nanaimo poet and writer, Kamal Parmar has been passionately involved in writing for the last 20 years. Her genre is poetry and she has a few books, both poetry and creative non-fiction,  to her credit. Her poems are simple though poised and evocative enough to set the reader thinking. She has a number of poetry publications in reputed Canadian literary journals and magazines. She is a member of several writers’ organizations and Writers Guilds and is also a manuscript evaluator in one of them. She is currently, an active Board member of the B.C Federation of Writers, and was also Secretary of The Ontario Poetry Society, while in Ontario and has also given poetry readings in various libraries, in ON, SK and in BC.

Currently, she is an Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets, a Board member of Federation of BC Writers and a member of The Writers Union of Canada, the Canadian Authors Association as well as of Haiku Canada. She is the current Poet Laureate for the City of Nanaimo.

Alison Manley has ricocheted between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for most of her life. Now in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she is the Cataloguing and Metadata Librarian at Saint Mary's University. Her past life includes a long stint as a hospital librarian on the banks of the mighty Miramichi River. She has an honours BA in political science and English from St. Francis Xavier University, and a Master of Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University. While she's adamant that her love of reading has nothing to do with her work, her ability to consume large amounts of information very quickly sure is helpful. She is often identified by her very red lipstick, and lives with her partner Brett and cat, Toasted Marshmallow.