Priscila Uppal: Olympic Poet-in-Residence!

So the Olympics ended tonight!  These Olympics will go down in history as Canada’s athletes made us all feel proud with the 14 gold medals we won, a new Olympic world record for the Winter games!  And for all the crazy hockey fans- BOTH the MEN and WOMEN made us proud with their victories – EH OH CANADA GO!

But these Olympics were special for other reasons too. South Asian literature enthusiasts experienced a treat with poet, academic and novelist Priscila Uppal, who has been writing poems and blog posts in celebration of the athletes and games each day from Vancouver.

Who is Priscila Uppal?

Of mixed Brazilian and South Asian descent, Priscila Uppal is a critically acclaimed poet and novelist, who is also an academic at York University in Toronto. Novels written by Uppal include “To Whom it May Concern “ (2009), a modern retelling of King Lear; and “The Divine Economy of Salvation” (2003).

Uppal also wrote and edited several anthologies of poetry: “Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Women Poets,” co-edited with Rishma Dunlop, features captivating poets, such as Sharanpal Ruprai, Sonnet L’Abbe, and Proma Tagore to name a few. She is also a very active community member: each year Uppal is involved The Scream Literary Festival, a festival celebrating poetry and the spoken word, which culminates in a beautiful mainstage event in Toronto’s High Park each July.

Uppal shows her community involvement again this year as poet-in-residence for the Canadian Athletes Now Fund. The fund supports athletes dreams to compete and train in world competitions including the Olympics and Paralympics. With just $10 a Canadian Athlete’s olympic dreams can be achieved. Donators were given the names of who their donation  supported so they could cheer the athlete on through their events!

Olympic Poems Dedicated to the Athletes

Priscila has been posting poems both on the Literary Review of Canada Blog and the Canadian Athletes Now Fund webpage on the games, winter sports, and the athletes. Each time a Canadian won a gold medal Priscila read a poem aloud to the athletes, their families, and donators in Vancouver. As she shared on the LRC blog on February 12, Uppal feels a deep personal connection and similarity with athletes as an artist, as both athletes and artists work hard to perform and improve without the guarantee of reward or financial gain.

But just because the Olympics are now at an end, doesn’t mean your opportunity to read Priscila Uppal’s poetry is lost! In addition to reading her posts from the past 17 days, Priscila will also be writing for Canada and our athletes for the Paralympics taking place February 12 – 20, 2010. So keep visiting the Canadian Athletes Now Fun and Uppal’s LRC blog!

Thank you for your poetry and inspiring dispatches Priscila! Your another Canadian South Asian woman  making the nation proud!