Sasenarine Persaud

Sasenarine Persaud was born in Guyana in 1958. He lived in Toronto, Canada for a number of years before relocating to Florida. Persaud has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Boston University.

Fiction (Short stories)

Canada Geese and Apple Chatney: Stories

Toronto: TSAR, 1998.
PS8581 .E7495 C36 1998

Publisher’s Synopsis

… Persaud presents us once more with his unique vision of lives North American and Caribbean. Here are voices probing at differences which are and aren’t: all threaded together by the ancestral India of the protagonists’ imagination, the Caribbean of their childhood, the Toronto or New York of their recent years, presented in a sytle inspired by an ancient tradition in which storytellers move easily in and out of stories and time and history.

Awards and Honours

1997 The short story “Canada Geese and Apple Chatney” was first published in the journal The Toronto Review. It was shortlisted the the 9th annual awarding of The Journey Prize. It appeared in The Journey Prize Anthology: The Best Short Fiction From Canada’s Literary Journals (Toronto: M&S, 1997).

Fiction

Dear Death

Leeds, England: Peepal Tree, 1989.
PS8581 .E7495 D43 1989

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

What is the crisis which drives Dalip to question the sources of the person he has become? He senses that it lies in his response to the deaths of some of those closest to him. Growing up in Guyana, he must confront the tensions between the Hindu culture of his family and the Western focus of his education. Should he follow Krishna’s counsel not to grieve over what is inevitable or is he denying the full emotional life which his reading of D.H. Lawrence suggests is his human province?

Fiction

The Ghost of Bellow’s Man

Leeds, England: Peepal Tree Press, 1992.
PS8581 .E7495 G47 1992

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

When Raj, a reluctant schoolteacher with a weakness for schoolgirls, Hindu activist and would-be published novelist, protests against a breach of tradition at his temple, he is confronted by a trail of corrupted power which leads to the heart of the post-colonial Guyanese state. By turns acutely perceptive and self-deceiving, a quirky individualist and a stickler for convention, self-aggrandising and self-mocking, Raj is a dangling man, desperate to create something of value in a shabby and corrupt despotism. Forced to look inwards, he discovers that the truth-telling must begin with himself.

Poetry

Between the Dash and the Comma (Poems)

[Toronto]: S. Persaud, 1989.

Poetry

Demerary Telepathy

Leeds, England: Peepal Tree Press, 1988.
PS8581 .E7495 D46 1988

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

[Persaud] writes very consciously as an Indo-Guyanese and the collection, published in 1989, reflects a deep Indo-Guyanese ambivalence to the then experience of living in Guyana: an intense attachment to the land and a sharply alienated consciousness of political and cultural oppression. His evocations of landscapes, particularly riverscapes, are immersed in a Hindu way of seeing which seeks out correspondences between man and nature, whilst those poems which deal sharply and often wittily with affairs of state reflect a fear of unbelonging. The poems in the last part of the collection deal perceptively with love and attachment.

Poetry

The Hungry Sailor: Poems

Toronto: TSAR, 2000.
PS8581 .E7495 H86 2000

Publisher’s Synopsis

This second book of poetry in Persaud’s trilogy of poetry books establishes him, through ‘Yogic Realism,” as one of today’s truly accomplished poetic voices. The poetry here is fixed in Miami, radiating outwards to Toronto, Georgetown and Ayodhya — and fired by the sugar-coated and brutal subjugation and repeopling of Florida. There is irony running throughout of the Spaniards looking for gold in Florida — and not realizing they had found it in the sunshine and warmth.

Poetry

In a Boston Night

Toronto: TSAR, 2008.
PS8581 .E7495 I6 2008

Publisher’s Synopsis

Boston, the focal point of this collection, is like a needle hole through which the poet deftly threads his reflections about places, events, and histories: a conflict between Anglo- and Franco-Canadians at a Brooklyn art exhibition; Georgetown and Mumbai; Tampa and Toronto; the “Boston Tea Party” as a symbol of resistance to American English, subtly underlined by the description of a Walcott reading in an overflowing university hall. This is a fine, multilayered collection of poems by an important and accomplished contemporary poet.

Poetry

Lantana Strangling Ixora: Poems

Toronto: TSAR, 2011.
PS8581 .E7495 L35 2011

Publisher’s Synopsis

This collectionis as much about love and people in and out of relationships as it is about origins and the process of estrangement. The lantan is a flower of South American origin, and the ixora of Asian origin. The lantana, a creeper that grows profusely, often engulfing other plants, provides a ready metaphor of the consciousness of the Americas overcoming that of India in the Americas. This collection ranges widely in its geographical and historical concerns, from Canada to Guyana to India and places in between, eploring the contradictions in our lives and the power of language and representation. …

Love in a Time of Technology book cover

Poetry

Love in a Time of Technology: Poems

Toronto: TSAR, 2014.
PS8581 .E7495 L69 2014

Publisher’s Synopsis

Whether in the heart of downtown Toronto, a bookstore in Boston, the courtyard of the Taj Mahal, through the portals of cyberspace, on the banks of a a river in Tampa, or on a journey through time to Georgetown, an old colonial capital of Guyana, love circumscribes everything.  But Love in a Time of Technology is no wide-eyed outpouring; it probes and questions concepts and beliefs, pokes fut at age, companions taken for granted, and the realization that, like a mannequin in a Manhattan storefront, love is “faceless and, almost, raceless.”  If love circumscribes everything, these poems show that everything economics, politics, ambitions, and exiles also circumscribe love.

Poetry

Monsoon on the Fingers of God

Toronto: Mawenzi House, 2018.
PS8581 .E7495 M65 2018

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Set against the backdrop of the 2014 Scottish referendum, Monsoon on the Fingers of God continues an ongoing exploration of forms and improvisation on styles, rhythm/taal, and raagic moods in an examination of identity, history and human migrations.

Poetry

A Surf of Sparrow’s Songs: A Poemanjali

Toronto: TSAR, 1996.
PS8581 .E7495 S97 1996

First vol. in a trilogy of poetry books set in Miami and Toronto. Continued by The Hungry Sailor, and A Writer Like You.

Unclosed Entrances book cover

Poetry

Unclosed Entrances: Selected Poems

Guyana: Caribbean Press, 2011.

This collection contains a selection of Persaud’s poetry from his earlier to more recently published work.  Persaud’s early poems are made up of short lines, each consisting of a few words, which are evocative like haiku poems although they do not have the haiku form.  Persaud never gives up this kind of writing because he writes about everything he sees, and what he sees he sometimes moves away in the blink of an eye so he must pin it down quickly.  But increasingly his poems are like rivers flowing with power — the power of words with an inevitable rhythm.  Rivers figure greatly in Persaud’s poetry, as waterways for the colonizing missions of Europe, as symbols of the self merging in the Self as the river flows into the ocean and as mediator and facilitator.  Their flow unites apparent opposites, perceived through a consciousness which is ancient yet modern and skillfully rendered by the poet’s tools of memory and the imagination.

Poetry

The Wintering Kundalini

Leeds, England: Peepal Tree, 2002.
PS8581 .E6495 W56 2002

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Persaud enriches Caribbean poetry by bringing to it new dimensions of imagery and philosophical tradition from his Indian ancestry. The imagery of cobra and Kundalini from Tantric Yoga mesh with a political and personal engagement with both Guyana and more recently Canada. He draws on the vast repertory of stories and characters from the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabarata as pertinently as other Caribbean poets have drawn on archetypes drawn from ancient Greek or Biblical sources. His passage from Guyana to Canada and contact with the wider South Asian diaspora both draws him towards a broader sense of ‘Indianness’ and leads him to reflect on the unique Indo-Guyaneseness of his formative years.

Poetry

A Writer Like You

Toronto: TSAR, 2002.
PS8581 .E7495 W74 2002

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

The final volume of the author’s trilogy that confronts his Indian and Caribbean heritage and his life in Toronto, New York, and Miami.

Selected Criticism and Interpretation

Chilana, Rajwant Singh. “Sasenarine Persaud.” In South Asian Writers in Canada: A Bio-Bibliographical Study. Surrey, BC: Asian Publications, 2017, 274-275.
Z1376 .S68 C45 2017

Sarbadhikary, Krishna. “In Pursuit of ‘Ancestral Inheritance’: Sasenarine Persaud.” In Surviving the Fracture: Writers of the Indo-Caribbean Diaspora. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2007, 97-125.
PS8089.5 .S68 S37 2007

Links

Sasenarine Persaud personal website

The Caribbean Press

Publisher Peepal Tree Press

Mawenzi House Publishers (formerly TSAR Publications)

Entry in Wikipedia