Friday, 1 February 2019

Kevin Spenst : part one

Kevin Spenst, a Pushcart Poetry nominee, is the author of Ignite, Jabbering with Bing Bong (both with Anvil Press), and over a dozen chapbooks including Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press), Ward Notes (the serif of nottingham), Flip Flop Faces and Unexpurgated Lives (JackPine Press), and most recently Upend (Frog Hollow Press). His work has won the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry, been nominated for both the Alfred G. Bailey Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and has appeared in dozens of publications including Event, the Malahat Review, subTerrain magazine, Prairie Fire, CV2, the Rusty Toque, BafterC, Lemon Hound, Poetry is Dead, and the anthology Best Canadian Poetry 2014. He is a cohost at Wax Poetic on Vancouver Co-op Radio and part of the organizing team at the Dead Poets Reading Series. He lives on unceded Coast Salish territory with his sweetheart Shauna Kaendo.

Photo credit: Shauna Kaendo

What are you working on?

I’m currently working on a chapbook of new poetry riffing on faith, spirituality, mushrooms (no… not those kinds (well… not, exclusively)), and idioms from other languages for rain. I wrote a prose-poem this morning that runs riots through the Book of Revelations, the movie “God’s Not Dead” (file under: cringingly over-the-top evangelical propaganda), and cute dogs in a voice that appears to be raving mad, but in fact, at the end of the piece, it’s an emblem of sanity. I’m having fun letting my manic energy out and then reeling it in for quieter poems that are a bit more sobering and dark. Yes, I’m drawn to extremes. 

Also, I’m working on a series of experimental prose pieces that make use of the Mennonite refugee experience in Vancouver, Canada in the 20s and 30s. That’s my family’s background and I’m digging into as much history as I can to build up settings for surreal tales that flit between fiction and nonfiction. I love the definition of Kelly Link’s short fiction as being slipstream, which is a style blending different genres and modes. That’s a place where my imagination feels most at home. Hopefully, all of this will culminate in my first trade publication of prose somewhere down the road.

What’s amazing is that I’m able to do all this from my own writing room at the Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, BC where I’m the current writer-in-residence. Yes, I’m living on gratitude.

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