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Memorials and the yearning to re-create the past permeate "Valley Sutra", award-winning poet Kuldip Gill's new collection. The voices of East Indian communities and families speak up, reminding us that history is not just what is recorded in documents and ledgers, but is a mixture of smells, tastes and textures: the steam of hot rotis rising from metal lunchboxes at a mid-day break at a mill, the lush flesh of a mango offered by a gentle grandfather, the silvered bark of a log waiting to be processed, and the soft touch of sari silk and green grass. In the last section of the book, Gill invokes the ghost of Bill Miner -- Canada's first train robber -- to speak from beyond the grave, reworking memories and documents and revealing history from his point of view.
Kuldip Gill (1934-2009) was born in Faridkot District, Punjab, India. She immigrated to Canada at the age of five and then attended school in the Fraser Valley. She worked in the forestry and mining industries for twenty years and then obtained her Ph.D. in anthropology from UBC. She has taught at UBC, SFU, and at the Open Learning Agency. She taught a creative writing class at the University College of the Fraser Valley. Her poetry has aired on radio and has appeared in periodicals such as Event, BC Studies, Contemporary Verse 2, and AMSSA-Cultures West. She served on the editorial board of Prism International. Kuldip Gill passed away in May 2009.