The City of Nanaimo has a new poet laureate.
On Aug. 5 the city announced in a press release that Nanaimo poet Kamal Parmar has been selected to serve as poet laureate for the next two years.
Parmar said she’s excited for the role, which bridges her love of poetry and her love of Nanaimo.
“It’s a dream come true because I do want to connect with the people,” she said. “And I find especially in these times with the pandemic … there’s so much loneliness and isolation all around so I think poetry is one of the best tools in creative writing where you could connect with people and tune into one’s self.”
Parmar is a writer of poetry and creative non-fiction and has published multiple books in North America, India and the United Kingdom, with topics including childhood memories of India, her impressions of Canada and her experience caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease, the release said.
Parmar is active in local arts and culture, having served on the City of Nanaimo’s culture committee in the past and the Nanaimo Arts Council in the present. She’s also involved in poetry at the provincial and national level as a member of the League of Canadian Poets, the Federation of B.C. Writers, Haiku Canada, the Writers Union of Canada and the Canadian Authors Association.
The release notes that Parmar’s goal as poet laureate is to raise the profile of poetry in Nanaimo and use poetry as a tool for healing and connection.
“Each of us has some subtle form of poetry in us, which needs to be explored,” she said in the release.
Parmar said her first priority is programming for seniors, with another project aimed at youth coming next year.
“Right now I’m focusing on seniors and how to involve them in writing and also making them read poetry, tap into a talent that you feel is there but it’s been buried and bring it up,” she said.
In the release Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said he is “delighted” to welcome Parmar as the city’s next poet laureate.
“Poetry can inspire anyone to learn and grow, and to observe the world around us with new eyes,” he said. “With her focus on healing, Ms. Parmar will be a welcome voice in the community over the coming seasons.”
Parmar is the city’s third poet laureate, succeeding Tina Biello and Naomi Beth Wakan.