Proposal writer by day, poet by night

Sara Kannan (BA '16)

Sara Kannan (BA ’16) is a proposal writer at an engineering firm by day and a poet, novelist and essayist by night.
She believes that her passion for creative writing is strengthened – and sometimes even inspired – by her professional career. An award-winning writer herself, Kannan funds an annual University of Waterloo writing prize for essays and coursework that explore post-colonial topics.

Sara KannanThe word passion comes from ‘pati,’ to suffer
It’s a strange but true description of what it means to be driven
By agony and ecstasy and intensity all at once

Irony is struggling to write about my passion for writing
But love is difficult to put into words
Instead, let me tell you why I write

I write because I love to read
Because knowledge is power guaranteed
I read and write to experience and escape
To learn and teach and be entertained

To make sense of the world and my place in it
To make sense of myself and my displacement
To express and explore my marginalization
By voicing my hope, fear, regret, frustration 

I read and write to feel that connection
That lets us know we are all human
To me, writing is like breathing and blinking
It’s how I sustain myself, like eating and drinking

I write for my living and live for my writing
It sounds tedious, but to me it’s exciting
To change my rhyme, reason, and purpose 
Based on the audience I wish to service 

I write to evoke, empower, empathize
Educate, represent, fantasize
To voice trauma, truth, and other realities
Neuroses, triumphs, struggles, and tragedies

Sometimes I spill my mind like watercolours on paper
Other times I wrestle with words to the point of failure
Always, I’m trying to find insight and catharsis
To resonate with readers and succeed as an artist

Writing requires me to be reflective
On culture and media from an intersectional perspective
On identity politics and liminality
On personal experiences and their universality

I want to inspire others the way I’m ignited
By writing that encourages us to stand united
That represents diversity in all its glory
That changes lives through every story

I write when I feel strong emotion
From poetry to prose, I’m readily outspoken 
My writing can be silly, serious, funny, sad
Hopeful, practical, romantic, mad

I imbue meaning in diction, form, and structure
Build on the intertextuality of shared culture
To convey a particular feeling or message
That you may choose to receive or reinterpret

I think that’s the uniqueness of composition
That we bring new meaning to each interaction
Between artists, arts, audiences, worlds
The beauty of writing truly unfolds