With intoxicating fervour, Karen Shklanka's new poetry collection, Ceremony of Touching, winds its way through time and place to bring you the stories of everyday people. From her real-life experience as a doctor trying her best to heal patients, to war-era Japan, and the devastation of Hiroshima, Shklanka's poems beg us to witness and explore our own humanity: how we interact with one another, carry on in everyday life, love, grieve. Poems such as "Witness", "Ceremonies for Despair", and "One by One" are incredible examples of how Shklanka's poems, while varied in both style and perspective, retain a powerful, captivating voice that creates a common thread, guiding the reader through the collection.
Karen Shklanka is a poet, a family physician and an Argentine Tango dancer. Her first book of poetry, Sumac's Red Arms, published by Coteau Books in 2009, was nominated for a ForeWord Review's Book of the Year Award. In 2012 she was long-listed for the CBC Poetry Prize (for "Flight Log" - included in this collection). Her poetry has been included in the Planet Earth Poetry Anthology and the 2004 chapbook anthology, Letters We Never Sent, edited by Patrick Lane. She was four times a finalist in ARC magazine's international poem contest, and has been published in numerous other periodicals, most recently in CV2 and Room.
Born in Toronto, Karen Shklanka spent 14 years practicing rural and emergency medicine in small and medium-sized Canadian communities. She has an MFA in creative writing from UBC and currently works as a hospital-based Addiction and Pain medicine consultant in Vancouver, and as a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC.