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Parm Kaur

Parm Kaur is a poet, playwright, theatre director and live art performer and has performed her work nationally and internationally in India, Mexico, Copenhagen and Switzerland. Widely published she has received several national and international awards for her writing including the Saccan Award for Poetry,a Hawthornden International Writing Fellowship, and writing bursaries from the Arts Council of England. Her poetry has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and she is currently working on a new collection of poems considering different concepts of time measurement, and experience. She is also continuing to work on adapting classic Indian and Western classics for the modern day.
She was born in the West Midlands, of Punjabi heritage, and currently lives
in London.
She is a prolific writer and performer and has appeared in the following;
Residencies, Awards and other Commissions
July 2003 Arts Council of England, London Writing Bursary, Greenwich Maritime Museum
Feb 2003 BBC Radio 3 Commission for response to Aztecs Exhibition at RSA
Feb-Mar 02 Arts Council of England supported Live and Direct Workshop and shadow directing bursary for Lemn Sissay’s play Storm
April 2001 Year of the Artist commission with Poulomi Desai, working with Refugee Organisations in Harrow, in creation of website www.usurp.org.uk
Dec 2000 International Writing Fellowship at Hawthornden Castle. Edinburgh. Residency with international authors, supported by London Arts.
August 2000 International Writing Fellowship at Le Chateau de Lavigny. Lausanne, Residency with authors from Moldova, India, Prague, America.
June 1998 Saccan Award for poetry from Southern Arts Board.
June 1996 Multi-media Performance Research Commission at The Junction, Cambridge culminating in performances at The Kronberg, Copenhagen.

Poetry Publications
Anthologies.
British South Asian Poetry Anthology ed. Debjani Chatterjee. Redbeck 2000 Bradford
Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Womens Poetry ed. Karen McCarthy. Womens Press 1998
The Fire People ed. Lemn Sissay. Payback Press 1998

Newspapers and magazines
Liminal & Prayer Gargoyle Issue 42 Paycock Press 1999 London
You could’ve had Daily Express Newspaper 16.8.98 London
The Cost of Denial East (National Asian weekly) March 13th 1997 London
Freedom of speech and censorship Feminist Arts News. Vol.3 (8) March. 1993 London.
How can you blame your mother?Black Arts in London. Issue 131-132. Dec.16th 1990 MAAS London
Articles and interviews published in:
The Hindustan Times, Poetry Society newsletter, Calabash, Asian Times, East national daily newspaper, Times Educational Supplement, and various local newspaters
Broadcasts
BBC Radio 3 The Verb – commissioned poetic response to Aztecs exhibition broadcast in March 2003
Also been broadcast on: Womens Hour, BBC Radio 4. BBC GLR London and BBC Thames Valley FM
Poetry Performances
03-04 Warwick, Solihull, Birmingham, Wolverhampton libraries
Oct 03 Cheltenham Literature Festival
April 2003 Poetry On Loan Launch, Shropshire, with poet Ian Macmillian
July 2002 Cultureshock Poetry tour as part of Commonwealth Games Festival:
Manchester, Newcastle, Bradford, Oldham and Rochdale
November 2001 Sahitya Academi, New Delhi.
and others include: Poetry Society. London. Whitechapel Arts Gallery. 000 Festival. London
Battersea Arts Centre, London. Various performances for Apples and Snakes. Southwark Civic Centre, London. Cobden Club. Swindon Literature Festival. Apna Arts Festival, Nottingham. Haslingden Hall, Manchester. The Pegasus Theatre, Oxford. Windsor Arts centre. The Kronberg, Copenhagen. The Hypotheses Cafe, Oaxaca, Mexico.


The Old Woman

I’m leaving now, but I’m not leaving anything.

There is ground beneath my feet,
behind me the ancestors
there, somewhere

I can still walk, but only slowly
it amazes me how people hurry past.

I used to jump, from here to there
roll myself up, thin as paper
place myself on the floor, or on the wall
sometimes quiet as a silk hankerchief
slip in and through
the crowds to reach
whatever had caught my eye,
the grail, it was there
just over there.

I’m tired now, I want to be still
this land was to be temporary
and became my life
I think there is still time.

I am leaving now, but I am not leaving anything.

There is no need for me here now,
both of them have gone
somehow I let them keep me here
where the air was always too cold
the people too pale and stony faced.

So long invisible to so many,
this became my art,
few could look and see
I had the most magnificent disguise.
I could turn into a mirror in a flash,
sometimes without thinking,
then wonder where I’d gone.. .

I’m leaving now, but I am leaving nothing

everything’s been passed on or burnt.
Here inside my skull is all that’s worth keeping
polished by remembering,
my memories have kept me warm.

After all these years of living
with teenagers who stone their holy men,
in a land of locked churches.
I will not hold the memory
of this street in my bones
of dirt, noise and closed doors
from which closed face people emerge.

I will be lighter once I cross the water.

I am leaving now, but I am not leaving anything
you can scatter me to each of the four directions.
In amongst the dust will be bits of coloured glass and stone
the grounds left after swallowing and digesting,
the parts that didn’t pass through,
the stones I couldn’t throw back.

Here is the one labeled ‘blackie’
here, the bit of rope I tried to slip
but somehow always kept hold of my foot

I am leaving now, but I’m not leaving anything