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.

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