Lillian Nećakov is the author of six books of poetry, numerous chapbooks, broadsides and leaflets. Her new book il virus was published in April 2021 by Anvil Press (A Feed Dog Book). In 2016, her chapbook The Lake Contains an Emergency Room was shortlisted for bpNichol chapbook award. During the 1980s she ran a micro press called “The Surrealist Poets Gardening Association” and sold her books on Toronto’s Yonge Street. She ran the Boneshaker Reading series from 2010-2020. She lives in Toronto and just might be working on a new book.
How does a poem begin?
With a headline, a scene in a film, a broken robin’s egg, a visit to the emergency room with one of my kids, a scent, a snippet of conversation overheard on the subway, a memory, a walk with my dog, a nightmare, a death, a birth, anything really. But what I am excited about is how/where the poem ends. Where you begin and where you end are often two very different places. The big themes, if you want to call them that, are always there, in your sub-conscious, and even though you begin with a line about a magnolia tree or your son’s broken clavicle, that’s not what the poem is ultimately about, that’s not where you end up. I don’t usually sit down and think, “okay, today, I am going to write a poem about climate change, or my father’s funereal”. Those things might become woven into the landscape of the poem as I write. That journey is what I find so satisfying about writing poetry. And sometimes I end up surprising myself.