Lakshmi Gill, born in Manila (Punjabi/Spanish-Filipina), attended Western Washington University (B.A.), University of British Columbia (M.A.), Mt. Allison University (B.Ed.), University of New Brunswick, Fredericton (Ph.D. studies), and taught in Canada, Hong Kong, and England. Her work includes Returning the Empties: New and Selected Poems: 1960s to 1990s, The Third Infinitive (a novel), Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus, and she has published in anthologies in North America and India, and literary magazines in Canada, USA, Ireland, Australia, India, Hong Kong, Macau, and the Philippines. Along with Dorothy Livesay, one of the only two women amongst the founders of the League of Canadian Poets in 1966; current member of The Writers Union of Canada.
Questions and Answers
Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?
Yes. It was a childhood family incident. My sister was disciplined by our mother in what I thought was a cruel way. I was so moved that I wrote a poem not only as a reaction but as a witness to human indignity.
How/where do you find inspiration today?
It depends on the poem. I continue as a witness most often, but sometimes the poem comes out of nowhere and surprises me.
Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. books, films, art, websites, text, etc.)?
All that and people talking on the bus, at a restaurant…
For an aspiring writer, what would have been helpful/motivating to hear from a published poet?
Be very young and be at the right place at the right time. There are no poetic geniuses. Have mentors, attend Creative Writing courses to meet fellow writers, go on adventures and survive them so you can write about them, open yourself to the world, be compassionate, live life.