Sunday, 17 February 2019

Billy Mavreas : part one

Billy Mavreas (he/him) is an artist/writer and the author of three graphic novels, one book of posters and several dozen zines, pamphlets and chapbooks.

He has been involved with the Montreal literary community since the late 1980s as an editor on journals, poster maker for spoken word events, cover artist for various small presses and in a myriad other capacities bouncing between poetry and comics.

He is an original co-founder of Expozine, Montreal’s zine fair and is an ardent collaborator and small press and self expression advocate.

He works out of his art shop Monastiraki.

Photo credit: Jen MacIntyre

What are you working on?

I’m working on several simultaneous projects. Currently I have an abstract graphic novel that needs tightening and a whole slew of drawing poems that will eventually be zines.

I get easily moved by materials, a new pen or rubber stamp, some vinyl stickers, an old perfect magazine to destroy. I never know what new thing will spark me, leaving older things pushed further back.

John Luna : part five

5. How does a poem begin?

Well, it’s funny that, looking at the above answer, I would say that poetry is a constant but that the instance of a poem is not. As such, beginning a poem is a problem. It used to be that I would have to try and then perform moderately well or badly or procrastinate and engage in some of those moods and behaviours (esp. walking or travelling) in order to find the poem in media res and then conjure the myth of its beginning. Now I mostly have to just open a file with a title and one overheard phrase or another that has been distorted a little, and that is sort of like walking into an installation space and laying out materials for an exhibition. Then more elements are brought in and unloaded and aligned and the idea of building this temporary shelter for the poem presents its straightforward problems of connection and load bearing and the transfer of prospective weight. And this is the result of a constant situation of pressure; but that’s not really a poetry problem. At some point, the gestures enact a series of consequences and there is an ordeal, and that gives us the poem, which really doesn’t start beginning until that point; the rest is training and suspense.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Emily Banks : part three

How does your work first enter the world? Do you have a social group or writers group that you work ideas and poems with?

I share a lot of my roughest drafts with three friends from college: Sarah Huener, Hannah Riddle, and Liana Roux. We went through our undergraduate creative writing program together, so they’re really the people I feel the least shame with. I mean, they saw the poems I brought to workshop at eighteen about like, skinny dipping in various apartment pools. From time to time, we do a “grind” in which we send each other a poem a day for a month. We don’t critique, just offer encouragement and point out lines we love. Since I’ve finished my MFA and started a critical Ph.D. program, this practice has been such an important way for me to stay connected to my poetic community and keep writing. A handful of poems in my book originated that way.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Kevin Spenst : part three

Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?

My conception of poetry has opened up tremendously. Currently, on my desk, there’s a chapbook of concrete poetry made with a typewriter. As a teen, I did not dig bpnichol or concrete poetry at all, but seeing the work of Judith Copithorne here in Vancouver, Gustave Morin in Windsor, Ontario (his Clean Sails really blew me away) and Renee Gladman, whose Prose Architectures is sublime, I have a growing appreciation for vispo. Also, sound poetry fascinates me whereas when I was a teen it would have just made me giggle. (Google: steve mccaffery carnival). I was delighted last year to hear Donato Mancini give a reading in Victoria at Open Space of new work that took on a uniquely aural dimension.

In terms of the lyric, my interests over the years have centered around metaphor. It feels foundational to how language is embodied and experienced. I gravitate towards work that is wildly metaphorical and playful and I love the idea of opening up metaphor to erasure, found poetry, and the plundering of other texts. (Thank you, Silliman and Bernstein!) Surrealism is another place that I like to play. James Tate takes the cake and pushes it through the colander and it’s squeezed out into sweet squiggles that exude meanings both sad and hilarious. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing the Vancouver poet Laura Farina on a radio program I cohost (plug: Wax Poetic on Coop Radio; pats on the back: RC Weslowski and Lucia Misch). Laura’s work was a burst of lovely surrealisms: horizontal landscape hanging in the window, the city crossed the street pretending not to know me… That’s the kind of stuff I strive to write.

David Estringel : coda

Why is poetry important? 

It is the only voice a soul has.

Brian Kirk : part two

How does your work first enter the world? Do you have a social group or writers group that you work ideas and poems with? 

I have one particular, first reader, the poet John Murphy, who has been tremendously important for me. But these last few years I am also a member of the Hibernian Poetry Workshop who meet in Dublin every month. They are a very experienced and critical, yet encouraging, group.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Tina Mozelle Braziel : part three

How do you know when a poem is finished?

I’m not sure if I ever know that for sure. I find myself continually tinkering. Sometimes, I will give up on a poem, only to totally rewrite it years later.  Some poems seem like they’ll never be done with me.