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Rishma Dunlop

Rishma Dunlop was born in India in 1956 to Sikh parents who immigrated to Canada in 1958. Dunlop grew up in Beaconsfield, Quebec. She earned an M.A. from the University of British Columbia in 1994. In her Ph.D. thesis from the University of British Columbia (1999) entitled Boundary Bay: A Novel as Educational Research, she explores ancestral roots in India. Dunlop was a professor of Literary Studies in the Faculty of Education and the School of Women’s Studies at York University in Toronto, and later served as the coordinator of the Creative Writing Program at York University. She edited a couple of limited edition student poetry chapbooks published in Toronto by Lyricalmiracle Press: Under a Fluroescent Light (2006), From a Room Without Windows (2005). Rishma Dunlop died on April 17, 2016.

Poetry (Chapbook)

The Blue Hour

Artwork by Suzanne Northcott.
Toronto: Lyricalmyrical Press , 2004.

Limited ed. of 30 copies.


The Body of my Garden

Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2002.
PS8557 .U545 B63 2002

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

In The Body of My Garden, Rishma Dunlop takes a voyage around the heart in poems that embody the burdens and exhilaration of love. Whether recreating the paradise gardens of Moghul India or writing an erotically charged poetry of absent lovers, Dunlop uses language in a painterly way, creating sensory images that shimmer with light and humanity while probing the darkness of a sometimes paradoxical and violent world. Ultimately this romantic collection of poems is about seeking grace in the eros and desires of everyday life.

Poetry (Chapbook)

Boundary Bay

Winnipeg, Man.: Staccato Chapbooks, 2000.


Lover Through Departure: New and Selected Poems

Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2011.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

… Here are poems by a diasporic persona about encounters in cities around the world, in hotels, motels, and on the road, where identity and authenticity come face to face with desire and the refusal to betray the heart’s most intimate instincts. Sophisticated and tender, this is poetry of love and mortality, captured by a compelling witness to the beauty and violence of the 21st century. To read this collection is to discover at every turn an undeniable radiance, a sense of grace tinged with an erotic edge, a riveting, distinctive voice.



Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2005.
PS8557 .U545 M48 2005

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Metropolis is a visionary work that dreams the elegiac landscape of cities like Toronto, where genteel Victorian culture leans hard against Sri Lankan ghettos; where prostitutes and cocaine dealers ply their trade next to green streets immaculate with rose gardens. In Metropolis, urban portraits of violence, grief, mourning, and joy are underscored by philosophical, historical, and theological concerns. Rishma Dunlop has a gift for looking at cities in all their contradictory beauty and reading the scars of history as the graffiti of everyday life.


Reading Like a Girl

Windsor, Ont.: Black Moss Press , 2004.
PS8557 .U545 R43 2004

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

In Reading Like a Girl, Rishma Dunlop explores themes of immigration, Punjabi Sikh heritage, suburban life in the late 1950s and 1960s, diasporic and hybrid identity, the construction of a life through reading literature, comic book heroes and postcolonial education. The poet creates a lush landscape of contrasts and paradoxes, scenes that include women in saris in Niagara Falls, Punjabi lullabies and the music of teen suburbia in the 1960s-Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton.


Songs Before the Dawn: Poems

Paintings by Gailene Powell.
Toronto: Boundary Bay Press, 2001.


White Album

Artwork by Suzanne Northcott.
Toronto: Inanna Publications, 2008.
PS8557 .U545 W45 2008

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Beginning in the 1950s, White Album charts the life of a young woman born in India, growing up in Canada during an era of explosive change, both cultural and political. Set to the music of the last half-century, White Album poses provocative questions: What is an identity? How does the noise of history—the chanting crowds, the gunshots, the guitar feedback—soundtrack our sense of self?

Anthologies (Poetry)

Child: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose

Edited by Rishma Dunlop.
Delta, B.C.: Boundary Bay Press, 2000.

Anthologies (Poetry)

Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Canadian Women Poets

Edited by Rishma Dunlop & Priscilla Uppal.
Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2004.
PS8283 .A8 R43 2004

Tok Book 6 book cover

Anthologies (Poetry)

Tok. Book 6

PS8237 .T6 T54 2011

Dunlop, Rishma. “Metropolis Redux.” In Tok. Book 6, edited by Helen Walsh. Toronto: Zephyr Press, 2011, 17-28.

Anthologies (Poetry)

White Ink: Poems on Mothers and Motherhood

Edited by Rishma Dunlop.
Toronto: Demeter Press, 2007.
PS8287 .M68 W55 2007


Anthologies (Drama)

“The Raj Kumari’s Lullaby.”

In Where is Here? The Drama of Immigration. Volume 1, ed. Damiano Pietropaolo. Winnipeg, Man.: Scirocco Drama, 2005.

PS8309 .I49 W49 2005

Publisher’s Synopsis

[This is] a play set in British Columbia and Quebec’s Eastern Townships that charts a Punjabi-Canadian woman’s coming of age.

Selected Criticism and Interpretation

Chilana, Rajwant Singh. “Rishma Dunlop.” In South Asian Writers in Canada: A Bio-Bibliographical Study. Surrey, BC: Asian Publications, 2017, 264-265.
Z1376 .S68 C45 2017

Whyte, Ewan. “Rishma Dunlop: Reading Like a Girl.“ In Desire Lines: Essays on Art, Poetry & Culture. Toronto: Guernica Editions, 2017, 119-120.
PS8645 .H96 D47 2017


Publisher Black Moss Press (includes an interview with Dunlop)

Publisher Demeter Press

Inanna Publications

Publisher Lyricalmyrical Press

Publisher Mansfield Press

Remembering Rishma Dunlop – Diaspora Dialogues