Thursday 31 May 2018

Molly Cross-Blanchard : part one

Molly Cross-Blanchard is a Metis  writer from the prairies currently living as a guest on unceded Musqueam territory. She has an English BA from The University of Winnipeg and is now a Creative Writing MFA candidate at the University of British Columbia. Her work has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, The Malahat Review, and In/Words. This Spring, she will take on the role of Circulation Editor at PRISM international.

Photo Credit: Rachel Scramstad

How did you first engage with poetry?

First, very briefly, when I was sixteen and considering breaking up with my boyfriend (there was a lot of onomatopoeia... “SPLAT goes his heart”). And again, five years later, when said boyfriend and I finally (dramatically) called it quits. The time in between these catalytic heartbreaks was a lot of short fiction, playwriting, and trying to be an actor.

Domenico Capilongo : part five

How important is music to your poetry?

Music is central to my poetic process. My first book, I thought elvis was italian was inspired by Elvis. My second book, hold the note was inspired by jazz. My third book started with a lyric from the band, Arcade Fire. I find that music can get the brain to feel language in an interesting way. It somehow matches how the words sometimes form in my head and allows them to start coming out. I can sometimes even visualize lines of poetry while listening to music. This can be dangerous, however, while driving!

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Sennah Yee : part four

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

Off the top of my head, and in alphabetical order because I cannot possibly rank them: Franny Choi, Canisia Lubrin, Morgan Parker, Claudia Rankine, Ocean Vuong, A. Zachary, Jenny Zhang. They have each, in their own way, challenged both the medium and the reader. I had only ever known traditional forms of poetry shown to us in grade school; while I liked some of it, I mostly appreciated them on a technical level – emotionally, I had trouble connecting to them and/or seeing facets of myself. These writers have all shown me the potential of the personal, and of the critical.

Kristin Garth : part three

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

The dense, terse nature of poetry – the details of it, full of pulp and flesh and strained of the filler and water, it is life at its most condensed, shocking level.  There’s no politeness in poetry or development – it’s nitty-gritty all the way through.  It’s all icing, tart, cream, orgasm, nightmare.  To me, it’s always the richest parts of every experience, so reading poetry is like living the best and worst of life in a tiny little box.  I think that’s why knowing a lot of poets, it’s an interesting experience because what we have in common is a very microscopic engagement with the world.  We are not hanging back in the shallow end.  We are in deep, experiencing, swallowing the chlorine water that reminds of us the water fountain in second grade and that boy who watched you drink and you realized you were  physically desired.  We are always in the present and the past, in the details and the imagination.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Cameron Anstee : 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?

As I said in an earlier answer, I’m a hoarder these days, I don’t share work readily in many places. There are a few little mags I love and trust, and otherwise the work stays with me. I do have some close, trusted friends that will generously read works-in-progress and manuscripts, and with whom I talk shop. These friends date to my university days working at a campus lit mag and spending free hours in the student pub talking/arguing poetry, and are the formative social influences on my work and processes. My end of these conversations has been quiet over the past year and half or so as the full length book has gone through editing. I didn’t write much that was new while editing the book, so I’ll have to start sharing again soon as I begin to write new things.

Monday 28 May 2018

Joelle Barron : part two

How did you first engage with poetry?

My grandfather had a book called, The Top 500 Poems (ed. William Harmon). It’s a tome with a watercolour painting on the cover in blues and greens. My grandpa used to read to me from it, mostly Lewis Carroll. I eventually ended up with the book, and would read, “The Lady of Shalott” every night before going to sleep. I later learned that these 500 poems were actually a very narrow view of what poetry could be, and that was a relief, because I thought most of these so-called “top” poems were spectacularly boring.

Sunday 27 May 2018

Martha Silano : part two

Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?

Oh, yes! I didn’t know how important the sounds of words were – the cadences and rhythms, the use of things like assonance and slant rhyme to keep a poem’s engine chugging along. I also didn’t know how much of writing is revising. Finally, I used to look for something I could ‘relate to’ in a poem. If I couldn’t find ME, I usually didn’t ‘like’ the poem. I’m not looking for mirrors anymore –I’m actively seeking out lives I haven’t lived, stories and situations that aren’t mine at all.

Elisabeth Horan : part four

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

Getting it right. I want to love editing my work but I don’t. I am impatient and impulsive and like to “get it right the first time”. That is naive and silly way to assume to be. Good poets know how to edits their work - to “cut the darlings…”  Editing takes maturing, patience and calm. I tend to purport myself in the opposite of those traits.

Saturday 26 May 2018

Cassidy McFadzean : part three

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

It is a struggle to stay in good mental health, especially most writing is done in isolation and the process often involves confronting self-doubt and reckoning with difficult ideas and/or trauma. This is especially daunting for those living under the poverty line, and is further compounded by recent discussions of abusive men in the literary community. At the same time, poetry is often what I turn to in times of difficulty, and so for me this urgency is what makes pursuing poetry worthwhile.

Friday 25 May 2018

Wayde Compton : part three

When you require renewal, is there a particular poem or book that you return to? A particular author?

The way Kamau Brathwaite thinks about the Caribbean is startlingly useful to me for thinking about British Columbia. I return every few years to his trilogy The Arrivants.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Domenico Capilongo : part four

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I recently had the pleasure of reading some of Doyali Islam's poetry. It is stunning, fascinating and powerful. Her 'parallel poem' and split-form structure is very crafted and natural at the same time, like someone whispering an important secret to you in a dark room.

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Sennah Yee : 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?

My poems often start off as something else! Usually a tweet, a quick note in my phone, or a film review. I don’t share poems while I’m working on them, or even prior to submitting or performing them – I admit that this is out of both shyness and impatience to quickly move on once I’ve written something.

Kristin Garth : 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 used to be on a critiquing site but I really made a conscious decision to stop submitting to critique.  Some people thrive on criticism.  I am a naturally insecure person, and while I was on the site, I would have work up on the site that was published and really ruthless critiques coming in saying to me:  “Who would read this?  Give it up” coupled with one right behind it that would say something over the top ridiculously flattering like “You will be taught in schools one day.”  And while it’s nice to get the super bump of confidence from the latter, I would at times, because I’m shy and insecure, want to give up entirely from the hate.  It wasn’t helping me. 

I used to cry to an editor friend, Nadia from Moonchild Magazine, who is the most patience maternal, nurturing person.  She gave me the courage to say, “This critique is not useful to me.  I don’t have to do this.”  And so I moved away from that. I’ve been lucky because I write and publish a lot to work with some editors who really take on the editor mantle, guide you, give you feedback whether they are choosing to publish you or not.  I love this.  It reminds me of graduate school which I did not complete and regret.  I feel when I get the privilege of working with a really professional, good editor, I am back in school again.  And I’m a forever schoolgirl, so I like that a lot.  It doesn’t mean I always agree or take the advice, but I like the dialogue, and sometimes when you do, something magical happens.  I had that experience recently with Kolleen Carney at Drunk Monkeys.  She gave me a little push that resulted in an improved poem, and I value those experiences.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Cameron Anstee : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

No idea whatsoever. I am a hoarder, and a slow worker, and I somewhat compulsively return to old work to steal and/or revise. It took a decade to produce Book of Annotations, and given the absurdly small word count of the book, that timeline is a bit ridiculous. For the book, I know they’re “finished” because the book is on shelves now. If I hadn’t submitted the manuscript, or if it hadn’t been accepted, I would undoubtedly still be fiddling with them. I rarely send out work to magazines, and even if I did so more, I would still be tinkering with the poems after publication. I’ m going to try to let the work in Book of Annotations sit for a few years to see how it settles. In the past I’ve been guilty of publishing too much too quickly, and I always know it is too quickly because I regret the work almost right away (often in the gap between submission and publication). I rarely look at chapbook publications prior to the trade book for this reason. If I can still stomach looking at a poem after six months, that’s a good step. After two or three years, I’m thrilled. I want to see how the book holds for me personally up in a decade or two.

Annick MacAskill : part five

How important is music to your poetry?

To me, poetry is its own kind of music. The idea of poetry as both representation and music (mimesis and logos, and melos) is an old one, but by music, I mean something quite broad – not only melody, rhythm, and rhyme, but also, more generally, a way of meaning that transcends human language – only via human language, in the case of poetry. In the same way that music can communicate without written or spoken language, there is an element of poetry that creates meaning beyond what is literally represented by its words.

In terms of the influence of other forms of music – these days, I don’t know how I would write without the inspiration of birdsongs, particularly the sounds of Halifax’s many, many starlings.


Monday 21 May 2018

Joelle Barron : part one

Joelle Barron is a poet and writer, living as a settler on the Traditional Territory of the Anishinaabe of Treaty 3 (Kenora, ON). Their work has won awards, and appeared in literary journals across Canada. Joelle works as a co-ordinator for an LGBT2S+ youth group, and is an organizer for Kenora Pride. Ritual Lights (Icehouse Press) is their first full-length poetry collection. Follow them @joelle_barron.

Photo credit: Josh Loeser

What are you working on?

I’m working on a collection of short stories with a connected narrative arc. I have a lot of fears (rational and irrational) about the end of the world, and I’m putting them all into these stories. I’m also still writing poems the way I always write them, in short, intense bursts, every now and then.

Anita Dolman : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

As I was writing this, Gwen Benaway’s second poetry collection, Passage, came in the mail, and I am very excited to finally read that. I’m currently reading Faizal Deen’s Land Without Chocolate: A Memoir. I finished Christine McNair’s Charm not too long ago, and, of course, the Canadian Ginger: An anthology of poetry and prose by and about redheads, in which I have a poem. I try to have one book of fiction, one of non-fiction and one of poetry on the go at any given time. Right now, my fiction is André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name and the non-fiction is Erin Wunker’s Notes From a Feminist Killjoy, which I admit to reading in very small bursts and then setting aside for a week or more at a time, as it resonates painfully but in a way I absolutely need to see through.

I also occasionally review books for Arc Poetry Magazine, and I have to say my favourite among recent reads for them was Kim Fu’s How Festive the Ambulance.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Martha Silano : part one

Martha Silano is the author of four books of poetry, including Reckless Lovely, The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception (winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize), and Blue Positive. She is co-editor, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for your Writing Practice. Saturnalia Books will release Gravity Assist, a poetry collection, in early 2019. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and New England Review, among others. The recipient of Yaddo’s 2017 Martha Walsh Pulver residency, Martha teaches at Bellevue College.

Photo credit: Langdon Cook

What are you working on?

I am finishing up a book of poems, Gravity Assist, due out from Saturnalia Books in early 2019, working on another book of poems (Glottal Stop), and trying my hand at prose poems and deliberate imitations of the styles of well-known poets.

Elisabeth Horan : part three

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

With poetry I can find the words for the grinding cogs which are jerky and rusting in my mind… but also the slipstream of the beauty I see in the world. In no other form can I easily mesh the insane with beauty; evil with love, and flowers with death.

Saturday 19 May 2018

Cassidy McFadzean : part two

How did you first engage with poetry?

I was drawn to poetry out of a love for language itself. In poetry, words can be the focus of a piece, and I found in poetry an art form that celebrates the esoteric, the archaic, the enigmatic. This is why most of my writing participates in the lyric mode; I find the combination of music and meaning that occurs when certain words are recited in a certain order to be incredibly moving if not magical.

Friday 18 May 2018

Wayde Compton : part two

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

These poets: Dionne Brand, because her books give me a sense of unity in thinking, analyzing, and feeling; Jordan Scott, who, syllable to syllable, gives me the same thrill Albert Ayler’s music does; and Shazia Hafiz Ramji, who is about to publish a first book that makes such lucid work out of this technocratic moment.

Thursday 17 May 2018

Domenico Capilongo : part three

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

The works of Michael Ondaatje and bpNichol had a profound effect on me as a writer. Their writing introduced me to so many possibilities and ideas about how and what to write. Since then, I have discovered, and continue to discover, many writers that inspire and inform my writing.

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Sennah Yee : part two

How did you first engage with poetry?

I wrote my first “book” of poetry for a fifth grade assignment – it was called “The Poetic Plump Pig,” and had tons of cheesy poems that all rhymed and were about animals and food. I drew pictures for each poem, too. Then my beloved sixth grade teacher had our class throw a “poetry cafe,” where we had to dress up like hippies/poets (ha!) and read a poem of our choice. I dressed in all black and lit a candle for an extremely overdramatic reading of “The Raven.” I actually didn’t really engage with poetry much after that for awhile – I got more interested in prose, and eventually, screenwriting. I’m happy to have returned to poetry, though!


Kristin Garth : part one

Kristin Garth is a poet from Pensacola, a kneesock enthusiast and a sonnet stalker.  Her sonnets have stalked the pages of Occulum, Drunk Monkeys, Luna Luna, Moonchild Magazine, Midnight Lane Boutique and many other publications.  Her first chapbook Pink Plastic House is available from Maverick Duck Press.  Her second chapbook Shakespeare for Sociopaths is forthcoming from The Hedgehog Poetry Press January 2019.  Follow her sonnets, socks and secrets on Twitter: @lolaandjolie.

What are you working on?

I just completed a chapbook Shakespeare for Sociopaths.  It’s 37 Shakespearean sonnets on the subject of sociopaths.  This is my second chapbook.  My first was very personal to me because it was very biographical and it was like a pink Barbie dreamhouse of my life.  Shakespeare for Sociopaths is about influences:  William Shakespeare who designed the cage for most of my poetic creations – a cage, I will clarify, that liberates from me from thinking about form a lot and focusing on content.  It is a cage that I feel free to let my wild subjects roam and roar in the safety of 14 lines.  It keeps me terse and bold that cage, and I’m excited to celebrate it and the dark influences from life and literature that I have struggled against or stumbled upon in nightmares or books. 

Shakespeare for Sociopaths is a 40-page chapbook which will be released by The Hedgehog Poetry Press on my birthday, for good luck, January 17th, 2019.  I am so excited to be published by this fine press and to bring this book to everyone and share my love for Shakespeare, true crime, sinister characters, survival and dark influences.

Also, tonight I recorded a poem for my Twitter.  I love to make Soundcloud audios of my poetry and post them.  I call it The Garth House of Poetry & Burlesque (as I was once a stripper); people who read my poetry know this very well.  (It’s a very favorite subject of mine.)

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Cameron Anstee : part one

Cameron Anstee lives and writes in Ottawa ON where he runs Apt. 9 Press and holds a Ph.D. in Canadian Literature from the University of Ottawa. He is the editor of The Collected Poems of William Hawkins (Chaudiere Books, 2015). Book of Annotations (Invisible Publishing, 2018) is his first full-length collection of poetry.

What are you working on?

Poetry-wise, I just published my first trade collection, Book of Annotations (Invisible Publishing, 2018), a book of primarily minimalist work. In the wake of that, I am working to organize readings over the next year to help bring the book to new places and (I hope) readers. I just finished rubber-stamping edition information on the back of a set of three wood-type broadsides I commissioned from Jeffrey Macklin (Jackson Creek Press, Peterborough) to celebrate the publication of the book. I am writing a conference paper on Barbara Caruso’s astounding presspresspress (1988-1998) for the upcoming Kanada Koncrete conference at the University of Ottawa. I am playing catch-up with a handful of projects from Apt. 9 Press (the one closest to going to print is a really excellent collection of poems by Peterborough’s Elisha May Rubacha). I am trying to prioritize finishing some academic projects (including an index of Nelson Ball’s three little mags from the 1960s). I am trying to write some new poems, and figure out how to do that after a trade collection for the first time. I am overdue on almost all of it.

Annick MacAskill : part four

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I recently read Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s The Water Horse (translated from the Irish into English by Medbh McGuckian and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin), Marilyn Dumont’s A Really Good Brown Girl, and Helen Humphreys’ Anthem. I have a thing for strong female voices; to me, all of these women are pioneers in terms of the subjects they treat and the way they write. I’m also busy looking at new drafts from writer friends, which I love.

Monday 14 May 2018

Anita Dolman : part four

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

An immediate and visceral connection with the reader.

To me, poetry is like delivering language and thought directly through a central IV line into the reader, where all other forms of communication are slower-acting, diffused mists to inhale shallowly or more deeply, at the reader’s discretion.

Sunday 13 May 2018

Elisabeth Horan : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

When I have no idea what else to do with it. You can only wring your hands for so long over word choice and order.

Saturday 12 May 2018

Cassidy McFadzean : part one

Cassidy McFadzean is the author of Hacker Packer (M&S 2015), winner of two Saskatchewan Book Awards and a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Cassidy was born in Regina, graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and currently lives in Toronto.

Photo credit: Julie Mannell

What are you working on?

I’ve just started a series of poems about mental illness and treatment I underwent this past year. I’m also attending residencies in to Yerevan and St. Petersburg this coming spring and am planning on writing about the Caucasus and post-Soviet region. I’m hoping to somehow bring these two ideas together.

Friday 11 May 2018

Wayde Compton : part one

Three of Wayde Compton’s books have been finalists for the City of Vancouver Book Award, and The Outer Harbour won it in 2015. His book 49th Parallel Psalm (Arsenal Pulp, 1999) was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Prize. Compton is the Program Director of Creative Writing in Continuing Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, where he administrates the Writer’s Studio.

Photo credit: Ayelet Tsabari

What are you working on?

A graphic novel, a libretto, some essays, a novel, and maybe a book for kids.


Thursday 10 May 2018

Domenico Capilongo : part two

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

I feel that poetry is the most limitless form of writing. It can challenge, move, upset, inspire, confuse, confirm, entertain, subdue, revolt, repel, and sooth like nothing else. And yet, like everything else, it needs a reader who is willing to engage with it and let the magic happen.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Sennah Yee : part one

Sennah Yee is from Toronto. She writes poetry, writes about films, and writes poetry about films. Her debut poetry/non-fiction collection, How Do I Look?, was published by Metatron Press in 2017. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Cinema & Media Studies, focusing her research on gendered robot design in media and technology. She is the arts editor at Shameless Magazine, and co-edits/contributes to The Fuck of the Century. Find her @sennahaha /

Photo credit: Alice Liu

What are you working on?

I’m currently attempting an outline of my first novella. I’m trying to keep it secret, which is also just a roundabout way of saying that I’m not actually too sure about all the details haha. But it’s a soft sci-fi; something I’ve always wanted to write. I haven’t really written anything like it before, so I’m both excited and terrified to actually start it!

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Annick MacAskill : part three

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

These days I’ve realized I have a hard time trusting myself when editing my own work. I like to edit with some distance from my own writing, as I see writing and editing as two distinct modes or phases. But I’m learning that it’s possible to take too much distance from writing, to remove too much of the initial heat in the editing phase. I suspect that part of this is due to a lack of confidence, though there might be something else in there. I know I’m getting nervous about my work when I start re-doing all the line breaks – often to the poem’s detriment. Having good, trusted readers helps with this; at some point, it makes more sense to send a draft to a friend than to keep re-working it.

Monday 7 May 2018

Anita Dolman : part three

Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?

Yes. Very much. I started out seeing poetry as an inward-looking act, a way for the poet to make sense of the world and their engagement with it, of their own mind and emotions. I fell in love back then with the confessional poets, such as Sexton, Plath, MacEwan. Those were perspectives that hadn’t been heard (not really heard, though they had at times been expressed) before.

I’ve heard confessional poetry glossed over (and I notice this is often by men) as if it were symbolic of self-indulgence. But what confessional poets, of all genders, were doing was ground-breaking, not only, often, in style, but by forcing space in the publishing world and yelling to everyone who could hear: I am valid. My perspective counts. My life counts.

The fact that so many of the confessional poets from that era were lost to mental illness may speak, in part, to the toll that having to get up and continually yell something so basic, just to gain the right to share your art, takes on an artist.

Now, my love is more for the sharing of the broader experience. I try to read diversely, although I admit to having a particularly large amount of shelf space allocated to queer poetry and fiction. What I want from poetry now is not just a resonating and deep experience of language, but to delve into and understand the points at which we connect as humans. If we can find those, then, outward from them, we can start to appreciate how and why we vary. How can I possibly know someone else’s life, their experience? But I if I read of it well, in so doing, I become a bit more human every day.

I’ve also come to realize that the impact a poem or a book of poetry has cannot be foreseen from initial reactions (or lack of them) from readers or critics. You have to wait to see how its life turns out. Often, you’ll have to wait much longer than your own life. A good book of poetry will keep communicating with people in different situations and times, as long as it remains in existence for someone to stumble across and engage with.

Sunday 6 May 2018

Shannon Bramer : coda

When you require renewal, is there a particular poem or book that you return to? A particular author?

Water Memory by Roo Borson and Magic Animals by Gwendolyn MacEwen.


Elisabeth Horan : part one

Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature from Vermont advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain - especially those ostracized by disability and mental illness. Her collaborative nature and feminism chapbook On This Path We Travel, is published at Moonchild Magazine. Her column Arsenic Hour is live at TERSE. Journal.

What are you working on?

I just finished a chapbook called “Just to the Right of the Stove”. It is a collaboration between myself and Sylvia Plath’s ghost. I feel a kinship with her as I survived severe postpartum depression and she did not. I wish I could have reached out to her when she was isolated and sad. It is my most ambitious creation to date. I hope it gets published, I am very proud of it.

Saturday 5 May 2018

Shannon Quinn : coda

I love the opportunity to be around other writers. I think I do so much work in solitude that I can forget there is an incredible community out there….that, and I’m pathologically shy…which is maybe a core reason for why I write poems.

Friday 4 May 2018

Sanita Fejzić : part five

When you require renewal, is there a particular poem or book that you return to? A particular author?

Virginia Woolf, though regarded as a great modern novelist, essayist and experimental writer, is one of my favourite prose poets. I am especially drawn to A Room of One’s Own; it is a formative text for me. Renewal is an elastic process, moving toward the future and novelty, but also walking back into remembering why we are writing in the first place. A Room of One’s Own allows me to remember why I’m doing the work of writing. I also turn to Anne Carson for the movement forward inherent in the process of renewal, although that process, for Carson as for me, is always already in relation to the past, especially the ancient past. Currently, I dwell in Carson’s experimental book/interactive art object, NOX (“night” in Latin), which is a eulogy she wrote for her deceased brother, Michael. The book is a prime example of writing as a never-ending process, without finality. Non-arrival can be very exhilarating and freeing. NOX is a text that holds the paradox of grief and celebration, seemingly incompatible affects. It is a long love letter, a sculpture, a performative and textual resurrection. Very importantly, NOX is an example of writing as a technology for self-care. Renewal, I think, is akin to self-care.

Penn Kemp : part eight

How important is music to your poetry?

I love collaborating with musicians, to hear how they lift the words off the page.  Many of my CDs are collaborations with musicians like Bill Gilliam and Brenda McMorrow and Mary Ashton and Paniotis Giannarapis of Light of East Ensemble.

For me, sound poetry is a last resort for creative expression when words fail the enormity of the emotions.  For years I have been exploring the outer limits of sound poetry, using variations on the body’s primal sound patterns to release an original voice.  The chants that result from this process are not metaphoric; the wall of sound creates a bodily synaesthesia, where one sense is experienced in terms of another.  My notion of sounding started with the labour of childbirth: an amazement at the inhuman howls emitted from a mouth that insisted on its own expression.  Grounded in that direct experience of the female body, my experiment with sounding continued in hearing and echoing babies’ exploration from babble into language.

Drawn in with the breath, sound provokes memories of tonal awareness, before language, before thought.  Conceptual frames block direct perception.  Trouble is, all of what we take to be reality, is subsumed into concepts.  But came first is the birth cry.  Sounding recreates first perception.  Its wail allows for any eventuality.  Sub-verbal, it explores languages in widening waves of individual expression.  Sounding can be a last resort for creative expression when words fail the enormity of the emotions.  It is exciting to use the sound of the voices to portray the inner space of the body and its the environment.  Such communication can resolve the tension between inner and outer worlds through play.  Sounding allows for multilinear narrative and a profusion of voices in an exploration of subjective experience.  Each in its quixotic way, sound poems can act out different characters in a revisioning of polyphony.

Sound poetry has been my medium of expression and communication, but its source is subliminal and so surprising, even or especially to me.  Inspiration comes literally from the breath and the way the breath forms sounds, shapes its own meaning as waves carve out niches in a sea cave.  Sounding explores the realm of the senses along the edge of skin.  A fascination with the margins of consciousness has occupied much of my work.  Internal necessity is driven by a poetic vision of interlocking sequences of phonemes that demand their scribe.  The immediacy of experience— the effect of computers on the psyche, for instance, or hormones on the body— merges with past and possible futures in the resonant encapsulation of sound.  This process demands my entire attention.

Sounds overlap memory and words in sine waves of possibility, along the morning shore behind closed eyes: the immediacy of present day experience.  Soundscape explores the primal areas of the human psyche that are beyond the reach of words and ideas at this juncture of the threshold, on the surface of skin, looking in and out.

My work is play grounded in a spacious awareness of word-hoards and an acute attention to syllabics.  One of the things that my sound poetry does is break language down into component sounds, and probably some sounds that are usually made only by cats in heat or me in labour.  Sound is how we discover language; learn to communicate with our world.  Being deaf is said to be more difficult, lonelier than being blind.  Sounds enter the sense like scent, filling the space.  The muffled sound of a cathedral replicates what a child hears in through the permeable walls of the womb.

Sounding is a process by which private space can explode into performance.  Utter, utterly.  Sound and poetry are close allies.  Sound leads to language.  Sound leads the poet on to the next stanza.  I wait for the next assonance rather than the visual image as the breath line hinges on its cyclical return.

Sound Opera is a new form I developed in performance & recording over the last three decades, in her desire to lift poetry off the page to the stage.  Sound Opera is based on text but it expands poetic possibilities to include voice, music & movement, to express narrative when emotions burst the seams of print.

Thursday 3 May 2018

Domenico Capilongo : part one

Domenico Capilongo is a high-school creative writing teacher and Karate instructor. His first books of poetry, I thought elvis was italian, hold the note and short fiction collection, Subtitles almost won several awards. His latest book of poetry, send, is about how we communicate.

Photo credit: Lynda Anthony

What are you working on?

I have a new manuscript based on the jazz classic, "Salt Peanuts". It was fun to focus on one main subject, and let the poetry grow from there. I'm also working on some poetry about and using words that entered the English language the year I was born.  I hope it will expand into an exploration of both language and memory. I also recently started a huge deletion poetry project using some of the greatest novels ever written. Oh, and yes, of course, there's always that pesky novel I'm still trying to finish!

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Manahil Bandukwala : part five

How important is music to your poetry?

Music helps me figure out rhythms in poetry. Over the past month, I’ve been practicing reading poems while music plays in the background. I got this idea from a performance by Conyer Clayton and Nathanael Larochette and decided to see how it would work for me. Songs and poems are twins, so naturally the musical nature of a poem comes through with music.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

rob mclennan : coda

How important is music to your poetry?

Without music, there is no poetry.

Annick MacAskill : 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?

For the past year or so, I’ve had a first reader who sees everything I write before anyone else does. I have other writer friends who look at my drafts later in the process. Unfortunately, because I’ve moved so much, I don’t have a cohesive writers’ group, but on the upside, I keep meeting new writers. Drafts and ideas are worked out in person, via email, and on the phone.