Kuldip Gill’s posthumous Valley Sutra (Caitlin Press, 2009) reminds me of two other books of poetry. The first part of Valley Sutra is called “The Mill Town” and because of its focus on locale and people in a specific region of British Columbia it reminds me of Daphne Marlatt’s Steveston. The two are distinctly different in style but in ethos they resemble each other with how through the poet’s voice people and place garner attention to both their specificity and their transcending the local. The second part of Valley Sutra is given over to poems centred on a criminal but which reflect different points of view. The reader of Canadian poetry would make the connection between “Bill Miner’s Notebook” and Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. There is even one poem in a style developed by Ondaatje as he says in the Afterword to the 2008 edition “I attempted everything. I took a stanza and wrote it backwards and in one case I kept the result”. Kuldip Gill picks up the form and makes it her own.
Elsewhere I have praised Kuldip Gill’s earlier work Dharma Rasa. I liked her then. I like her now.
And so for day 913