Terry Callier, “Wings,” from the album Hidden Conversations
The Gerald Lampert winner was announced and…it’s Kayla Czaga! She’s an enormously talented and very-kind-and-funny-in-real-life poet, from the west coast. Congrats to her!! I honestly loved all the books on this year’s list and am really proud to have been a part of the group. All of the books deserved to be on that list, IMO, and all, just as importantly, merit being read! (Here’s the whole shortlist again.)
Some time ago, The League of Canadian Poets asked the shortlist people to fill out a questionnaire, and as far as I know they didn’t use it for promotion (plans change…). I *agonized* over these questions! Well, that’s what I do…then I went to San Francisco on a whim and this pic above is proof, as unrealistic as it looks.
It’s so weird having a book, speaking as a first (one-and-only?) timer—it’s a year-long roller coaster ride for someone who hates roller coasters and theme parks…And I forgot for a while to realize that eventually I’m going to have to move along from the book, like everyone else does—to the next thing, to other people’s things. That’s happening, don’t worry! I’m already writing a new book, and I’m reading a ton! But I thought that posting this Q&A redeems my agonization from a meaningless death in my email outbox, and serves as a belated opportunity to talk about the book while I still can! Ok, here’s what they asked and what I said:
What inspired this book of poetry? OR What inspires you to write poetry?
My book is inspired by The Last Unicorn, joe jobs, hip hop, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It’s populated by the working class, troubled by gender, and driven by the desire to be reborn, in this life, on my own terms.
Describe your writing process. OR Describe your favorite ways of avoiding writing.
I don’t write things out for a long time, to test their mettle. And when I do jot notes down, I never, ever go back to them.
The theme for this year’s National Poetry Month is food. If your book were a meal, what would it be?
Sunday afternoon in a pub with Tim Fagan from New Fries.
You are this century’s Rilke composing your Letters to a Young Poet. What is your advice?
As this century’s Rilke, I mail out free copies of Rollo May’s The Courage to Create.
Favourite food: All curries. No fruit. // Favorite poet: W. H. Auden / Bill Callahan
I might already be more torn than when I wrote this, but I wrote a review of Kate Tempest’s book for Partisan:
“My non-genetic twin Tim was recently venting frustration about his inability to sustain attention at poetry readings. He said: how can I be riveted by radio, or by podcasts, and not poetry? Shouldn’t poetry be affecting me at least similarly? Oration is a source of conflict for poets. It’s an afterthought, or a dead zone, or it can become the dreaded, affected “poet voice”—or worse…”
Torontopoetry.ca is a cool new initiative by the Toronto Public Library in which poems that mention places in Toronto are mapped. (I can’t believe that web address was up for grabs!) A bunch of great authors are on there–George Elliott Clarke (who is also the curator), Jacob McArthur Mooney, Ken Babstock, Erin Moure—with more being added soon. It was funny to learn about the project and realize how many times I mentioned Toronto locations in my book! Here, on the map, is one of those mentions, my poem “Avenue Road.”
It’s been a little quiet, which is something I’m not great at. BUT that means it’s something I probably need sometimes, right? Anyway, I’m doing a couple of readings in June, and will be reading some newer/different/better? work (you can decide):
June 8, 2015
Shane Neilson, Marc Di Saverio, and me // hosted by Jacob McArthur Mooney
This is for the launch of Shane Neilson’s new book, On Shaving Off His Face
The Steady, 8pm
June 12, 2015
Taddle Creek Issue 35 Launch
Reading: me, JonArno Lawson, and Lana Pesch
FB event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/954868794535557/
Jet Fuel Coffee Shop (I know it says ‘coffee’ and coffee at night only makes so much sense–this event will be licensed, breathe out!)