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Tell: poems for a girlhood

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A collection of poems partially based on the Reena Virk murder case. Virk was an Asian adolescent whose drowned body was found in the Gorge Waterway in a Victoria, BC suburb, in 1997. Some of the poems use found material from court transcripts. The murder made international headlines due to the viciousness employed by Virk's assailants: seven girls and one boy between the ...more
Paperback, 100 pages
Published November 5th 2015 by Pedlar Press
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  47 ratings  ·  11 reviews


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James Murphy
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In November 1997 a 14-year old high school girl of South Asian descent named Reena Virk, living in a community just north of Victoria on Vancouver Island, was murdered by a group of kids who'd invited her to a gathering near a local bridge. There she was swarmed by 8 of the group and savagely beaten. She managed to get away across the bridge but was followed by 2 of the group who beat her again, and then one of the girls held her head under the water until she drowned.

Tell: poems for a girlhood
...more
Vicki
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book exemplifies the power of poetry to shine a light on things from which we might otherwise flinch and turn away. It's heart-wrenching, compassionate and transcendent, and was clearly a work of much clear-eyed dedication. I highly recommend it, perhaps especially for those who think poetry has nothing for them.
l.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
reading this book was strange. i remember being told about this as a child - i must have been six/seven? - and it was the first time i became aware of how white people saw brown girls - fundamentally unable to live up to the standards of white femininity. dark, hairy, dirty, outsiders.

"i can see her face but it's blank to me." jfc. these white demons are too much.
Julie
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favourites, poetry
I read a few of the poems from this collection in the 2016 Griffin prize anthology and instantly went out and ordered Tell. The gruesome story of how Reena Virk's classmates could first beat her then leave her to die at the hands of two of the bullies is deeply disturbing; however, Peerbaye's meticulously researched retelling is beautifully written and hard to put down even considering the content.

At times, Peerbaye's pulls in poetic reflections on her own life, connecting her girlhood to Virk'
...more
Andrea MacPherson
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sensitive, thematic collection exploring the death of Reena Virk in Saanich in 1997. The poems explore the history, the murder, the trials, and the physical place where she died.

Peerbaye uses transcript material to amplify the poems, experimenting with form and structure. She manages to avoid having the poems turn monotonous, a feat in a thematic collection.
Margaryta
It still amazes me how poetry is able to mesmerize and disgust at the same time, which is exactly what Soraya did in her second collection. I never heard of the murder of Reena Virk before, and learned about it only through "Tell". I got lost in the poems, not only because of the lyrical yet sparse style, but also because of the content itself. It was easy to keep flipping the pages and jumping from one line to the next, particularly in poems which included italicized portions from the courtroom ...more
Amino
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Can't stop thinking about the poem "Silt" for it's soft alliteration that was such a joy to read, same goes for "Washerwoman." "Beauty" was immersive, overwhelming, and visceral if you've ever shared a similar girlhood experience. This collection of poems is so important because of the way it highlights a part of Canadian history people would rather not deal with. The murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk took place in 1997 and wasn't dealt with in society for the brutal murder it was but was predomi ...more
Brooke
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an incredible collection of poetry about the tragic murder of Reena Virk at the hands of her peers. Reena was 14 at the time of her murder, which took place in British Columbia in 1997. As a young woman of South Asian descent, Reena struggled with the viciousness of being an adolescent girl, as well as the additional challenges that comes with racism and her intense desire to belong. Peerbaye's poetry is haunting, and her use of transcripts from the trials contributes to this powerful re ...more
Tracey MG
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Came to it as part of an University course not knowing what it was about.
It was fantastic and challenged me to learn more -- exactly what good art should do!
Maggie Gordon
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tell: poems for a girlhood is a lyrical, evocative exploration of the murder of Reena Virk using court transcripts in some of the writing. It is an unexpected, but powerful manner of dealing with the horrible death of Virk at the hands of her peers. It peels backs the layers of what happened and what was lost, refusing to make the story easy to read, despite its beautiful words.
Beth Follett
May 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Biography

Soraya Peerbaye’s first collection of poetry, Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names, was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award. Her poems have appeared in Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Women Poets (2004), edited by Priscila Uppal and Rishma Dunlop, as well as the literary journals Other Voices, Prairie Fire and The New Quarterly; she has also contributed to the chapbook anthology Translating Horses. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelp
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Soraya Peerbaye holds a B.A. in Theatre Studies from York University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Guelph University.

Peerbaye's first collection, Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (2009) was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award. Her second collection Tell: poems for a girlhood was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize (2016). Her work has also appeared in Red Silk: A
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