A local poet is using her talent to support a great cause, and it’s not the first time. Jagjeet Sharma has now launched her fourth collection of poems, following her tradition of donating proceeds to the Ottawa Heart Institute. She was eager to share details of the newest collection. 

“Under a Maple Tree is a continuation of my journalistic poetry,” said Jagjeet. “It is a mixed, random collection, a social and political discourse put in a poetic form, reflective of the times we are living in. It is published by Broken Keys Publishing and it is also available on all digital platforms.”

When it comes to writing poetry, Jagjeet is anything but a novice. “My interest and love of poetry began many years ago,” she said. “It developed furthermore at Carleton University completing my honours degree in journalism when I took English literature courses, including a Canadian Literature course. I fell in love with Keats, Wordsworth, Robert Frost and of course Leonard Cohen. I took a poetry workshop as well, and then there was no looking back.”

Why choose the Ottawa Heart Institute as the organization to receive the proceeds? It turns out that there is a personal connection for Jagjeet. “We presented a second cheque in November 2020 – the first one was presented in 2018 – to the Ottawa Heart Institute which turned into an emotional moment,” Jagjeet said. “I was reminded of the day when my better half was wheeled into the surgery room to get his heart’s mitral valve repaired. I had all the confidence in the surgeon, but doubts still lingered, because you can never fully know the outcome. Well, the outcome was great. He recovered well, and thus we began our mission, our commitment to pay back to a world-class institution.”

Jagjeet is emphasizing that buying her latest poetry book is a way to both support local and help the Ottawa Heart Institute. “The Heart Institute has become the be-all and end-all of our lives,” Jagjeet added. “The year 2017 became a turning point in our lives. Now, more than three years later, we are still raising funds for the Ottawa Heart Institute through my poetry books. I never thought my passion for writing poetry would one day turn into a conduit for a noble cause. Friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues have been very supportive in inspiring and motivating us to forge ahead, even during the difficult times of the pandemic.

Anyone wishing to purchase a printed copy of Under a Maple Tree can get in touch with Jagjeet by email at [email protected]. There is also a personal donation link which the Heart Institute has set up which is linked to the poetry book. It can be used for ordering a book or donating to the cause, and can be accessed at http://donate.ottawaheart.ca/goto/Guddi_Surinder.


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