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Reflections of Canadian poet/ cultural commentator Puneet Dutt

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

Our next What’s The Big Idea salon series speaker at Henry of Pelham on Nov. 22

At our next evening event, Toronto resident Puneet Dutt will share some themes from her book The Better Monsters , which she describes asa reflection on the cultural complexities of politics, violence and war in the new century.

“It highlights the lingering effects of racism, the ideas of borders, belonging and the concept of home, told from the perspective of multiple identities,” says Puneet.

Puneet says the shape of the narrative first started to form itself around the series“Cider and Whiskey in Hotel Rooms.” There, she started researching experiences of military and non-military personnel who work abroad for the government. From that, a “richness of their voices, stories and narratives began to come together to form the main body of work.”

Q: How does your international and cultural perspective inform what you write? You were born in India but have also seen the world through the eyes of two places you've lived, the U.S. and Canada.

Puneet: I think that it's important for writers to have a distance to the things they write about, since the distance provides the criticality necessary to view the object or experience with the least amount of bias, and see it more clearly.
It wasn't until I moved out of those countries, that I was able to understand them better, and digest my experiences, and research experiences that were parallel to my own.
Being too close to the subject or place is sometimes too overwhelming. The distance I now have to the places that I've lived provides me with the ability to seethings as fluid, changing, with multiple perspectives and often ambiguous.

Q: You are reading from Better Monsters — what can people coming to your evening talk take home though your key messages from that book.

Puneet: A number of poems were gathered from experiences, stories and voices that held back information, shared items off-the-record or certain sections or whole poems were redacted.
What interested me were the silences, and I would encourage readers to read the spaces and engage with the form as much as the content. Read what is not said, see through the subtext beneath the layers of the written word.

The Moderator who will lead the discussion with Puneet is playwright and Brock professor David Fancy, whose play Our Lady of Delicias was produced by Essential Collective Theatre and ran at the Performing Arts Centre this past February.

Please click on this link for tickets and more information:



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