www.poets.ca), and the current President of the Brooklin Poetry Society (https://brooklinpoetrysociety.com). She edited the poetry anthology, Written Tenfold (Poetry Friendly Press), and her work has appeared in journals including Synaeresis, The Prairie Journal, The Banister, Fresh Voices, Verse Afire and anthologies published by Beret Days Press. In 2019, her unpublished novel was shortlisted for Canada’s Guernica Prize. Renée blogs at: https://reneemsgroi.com and she can be found on Twitter @ReneeMSgroi and Instagram @renee_m_sgroi.
Photo credit: Kapil Bhargava.
How did you first engage with poetry?
Like many people, I was first introduced to poetry in elementary school, and I wrote my first poem in grade two (which I still have!). I surprised myself because I learned that I could write something that rhymed (a real talent when you’re in grade two). And from that point on, I decided I wanted to write poetry. When I was in about grade five, my parents gave me a small poetry anthology for Christmas. It had all kinds of different work in it, from e.e. cummings to Queen Elizabeth I, to Ogden Nash to Robert Frost. I think there was even a little bit of Chaucer in there. Just a strange little compendium, but it opened the world of poetry to me. Throughout my undergraduate and during one of my graduate degrees, I studied poetry, and I wrote some poetry, but it was on and off for many years. I didn’t “settle” on poetry until much later, when I really started to focus on my writing life outside academia (I’m an academic, so a large chunk of my writing over the years has been focused on essays and journal articles). It’s been a long process and journey to fully engage with poetry, and it’s one that I think is always evolving.