It is with great sadness that I must share the news that our beloved colleague and friend Rishma Dunlop died last Sunday after an heroic battle with cancer. Her association with Mansfield was long and fruitful, resulting in four books over the years, beginning with her first, The Body of My Garden, back in 2002, and ending with Lover Through Departure, New and Selected Poems in 2011. Rishma had a natural elegance about her that carried over into her poetry and into her work as an educator. With that first book she set out to embrace an artistic life with a fierce work ethic that resulted in a remarkable body of work in many genres. Her website will give a better idea of the breadth of her accomplishments, including her books with other publishers, but it doesn’t begin to document the influence her mentorship and cultural initiatives had on all those who were lucky enough to witness them. Those people carry something of Rishma into their own work still, which is why her loss is particularly keen for so many.

Priscila Uppal, who co-edited the Red Silk anthology with Rishma, posted a lovely remembrance of her and their time together on the York University website. It’s worth a read. Priscila will be joining us at our spring book launch in Toronto on Tuesday April 26 at the Monarch Tavern to speak about Rishma and to read a little bit of her work. On Rishma’s website you can find a video of her Fulbright reading, recorded when she was the Fulbright Research Chair in Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

A memorial reception will be held for family and friends on Wednesday, April 27 at Mount Pleasant Funeral Home, 375 Mount Pleasant Road (east gate entrance) at 6pm.  Visitation will start at 5pm and run until 8pm. Condolences and other messages can be sent to

Our condolences to Rishma’s husband David Sobelman, to her daughters Rachel and Cara, and to all her family and friends. She will be missed.

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