Sunday, 16 January 2022

E.J. McAdams : part two

How did you first engage with poetry?

One of the few poetry books in my house growing up was a copy of An Introduction to Haiku by William Higginson that was my Mother’s. It was a small book with a very attractive cover of a woodcut print of ducks floating on hilly waves.  I was taken by the specificity of the images and the connection to the surrounding environment in those three 5-7-5 lines, and the way the poems telescoped (or was it microscoped) seeming to unlock something cosmic.  I tried imitating some of those haiku. 

Then I got serious about poetry in my last year of high school.  I was not a very good composition writer and so my worst class was always English.  Because I was in the low-level English class I was introduced to creative writing while everyone else had to work on their AP tests.  I liked that poetry had no rules and low expectations.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Paolo Bicchieri : coda

What are you working on?

Getting words into people’s lives in lots of ways. Familial Animals is out in the world and I’m finding more and more homes for it. I’m writing loads of articles these days on the politics of food, culture, commodities and business. Wrapping up graduate school at the University of San Francisco in May, as well!

Kate Siklosi : part one

Kate Siklosi lives, thinks, and creates in Dish With One Spoon Territory / Toronto, Canada. Her work includes leavings (Timglaset 2021), selvage (forthcoming, Invisible 2023), and five chapbooks of poetry. Her critical and creative work has been featured in various magazines, journals, and small press publications across North America, Europe, and the UK. She is also the curator of the Small Press Map of Canada and a co-founding editor of Gap Riot Press.

Photo credit: Jesse Pajuäär

What are you working on?

I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with different mediums and how they interact—mainly water, ink, and watercolour paints. I am currently finishing up a small series of petri dish poems that incorporate water, india ink, found objects, and fragments from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I’m currently really loving experimenting with how different artistic media, different fluidities and reactions, interact with and undermine the presumed fixity of text. 

Friday, 14 January 2022

Kevin Varrone : part four

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

Fighting against the ingrained urge to be logical/make sense. By this I don’t mean to imply that poems are illogical––rather, that poetry has its own kinds of logic, and they aren’t the kinds that we tend to use to be on time to work or get everything on our list when we go to the grocery store. I spend so much time doing these pragmatic kinds of things, thinking in those ways, trying to proceed reasonably through the world that it’s a real challenge for me to let other things happen––especially in writing, because language, as we tend to use it, is very much a logic-based make-sense kind of tool.

Kevin Carey : coda

Title poem from my latest book of poems.

Set in Stone

A rosary that was my mother’s
tucked in the glove compartment of his car
and a copy of Exile on Main Street
with instructions to play track 6
when he hit some lonesome desert highway.
I love him so much my chest hurts,
thinking of him riding off into his own life,
me the weeping shadow left behind (for now).
I know I’ll see him again but it’s ceremony
we’re talking about after all—
one growing up and one growing older
both wild curses.
A train blows its horn
the light rising beyond the harbor,
a dog barks from a car window,
and the nostalgia (always dangerous)
hits me like a left hook.
I’m trapped between the memory
and the moment,
the deal we make
if we make it this long,
the markers of a life,
the small worthwhile pieces
that rattle around in my pockets
waiting to be set somewhere in stone. 

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Ankh Spice : part two

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

An English teacher introduced me to the work of Janet Frame when I was about 12. Although most of her well-known work is not poetry, she did write a great deal of it. Many writers and poets have signposted new pathways in my brain, but Janet was the one who affirmed that the steps into weird-shadow, into the strangeness of personal-lateral, and into being shaped by the particulars of place and different-brain attention to small details as very significant, all those steps I was already taking even at that age, were valid. During that year, I was admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit for the first time, deeply unwell, and surrounded by deeply unwell adults, because there were no adolescent-specific inpatient services at the time. I took a few of her books with me, including a copy of ‘The Pocket Mirror’’, the only volume of her poetry published in her lifetime. My own story echoes hers to a mild extent – she was famously saved from a lobotomy when a doctor learned she’d won a literary prize for that book. I was spared electroconvulsive therapy at 14, partly because a psychotherapist fought against it after reading my poetry journals. I suppose this is a lateral answer – perhaps Janet Frame didn’t change the way I thought about writing so much as let me know that perhaps there was already worth in the ways I couldn’t help thinking about it and everything that feeds it. And I think she gave me permission to write from the deeply personal, sometimes scary places – conscious that there’s little silver hooks of universal hung all the way through the net of the confessional. Other people who have been caught on them recognise their glimmer, and know they’re not alone in being caught, that when the poem allows itself to swim free (there is a redemption in most of my work of this type), just maybe they might, too.

Victoria Toykkala : part four

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

Some of poetry books I have been reading lately have included Erin Moure's Furious, Richard Siken's Crush,  Anaïs Nin, along with some classic Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and e.e cummings.