Wednesday 30 November 2022

Stephanie Henson : part one

Stephanie Henson lives with her family in Southeastern, Pennsylvania, but is originally from Central, New Jersey where she studied Communications at Rider University. She is back at Rider pursuing a Certificate in Publishing and Professional Writing. Her background is in Advertising/Marketing and most of her writing experience is through those professional roles. Writing and storytelling has been her passion for a long time. She has been published in print and online through various publications and has had several children's poems published by The Dirigible Balloon and Buzgaga Online, among others, as well as the occasional "grown-up" piece. She also has a Children's Poetry book scheduled for release in affiliation with Experiments in Fiction, an independent publisher in the UK.

Stephanie enjoys reading, theatre, mindless web searching, Netflix binges, sunflowers, sports, and anything related to coffee!

What are you working on?

I just finished up my debut children’s poetry collection. The book is entitled In the Right Lane and is an SEL-based poetry collection that includes many confidence-building and motivational pieces for the Middle-Grade audience (ages 8 to 12). Every kid should have a dream, a plan, a path, and a future.  This Social Emotional Learning based collection of poetry is meant to inspire a new way of thinking to help kids find their path through poetry and help them navigate life on the road to happiness. Confidence building, managing emotions, and finding your place in the world are themes that are explored. These pieces also capture the pure joy of being a kid. Experiencing nature, feelings of love, and - of course - acceptance of self. This book is a guidepost for upper elementary and middle school-aged children on those topics. It is scheduled to release on December 3rd via Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Aside from that, I also write SEL Picture Books and Middle-Grade Fiction. I have a few pieces on submission right now that I am waiting to hear back on, as well as working on drafts of new stories.

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Jaeyun Yoo : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

A couple of years ago, I asked one of my poetry mentors this same question. She chuckled and told me about how she recently dug up the Microsoft Word file of a poem that was published many years ago and started editing the poem again, because she “felt like it.” That was incredibly liberating for me. My relationship with poems became much more fluid once I understood that a poem may never be finished and instead, I could aspire for the poem to be good enough. 

Monday 28 November 2022

Ryanne Kap : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

I know when a poem is finished when I can stop thinking about it. There may always be a word to tweak or an image to improve, but when I can submit it or share it and not feel the need to provide any caveats, I feel like it’s done. When I’m writing confessional poetry, and I feel that whatever emotion sparked the poem has been contained by it, I can walk away.

Sunday 27 November 2022

Grace : part four

How important is music to your poetry?

Extremely. Hip hop was how I really learned to master English in the years after my family immigrated to Canada, and it was probably my first “favourite genre of music” growing up. There are poems that I enjoy, even though they have no musical elements—but to be honest… The consonance and assonance, rhythms, and (gulp) rhymes in a poem are often just as pleasurable to me as a good metaphor.

Allison Thung : part four

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I’m waiting for my copies of Chen Chen’s Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency, and Leigh Chadwick’s Your Favorite Poet, to arrive. In the meantime, I’m revisiting Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Lucky Fish.

Friday 25 November 2022

Subhaga Crystal Bacon : part one

Subhaga Crystal Bacon is a Queer poet living in rural northcentral Washington on unceded Methow land. She is the author of four collections of poetry including Transitory, recipient of the Isabella Gardner Award for Poetry, forthcoming in the fall of 2023 from BOA Editions, and Surrender of Water in Hidden Places, winner of the Red Flag Poetry Chapbook Prize forthcoming in the spring of 2023. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in 45th Parallel, Rogue Agent, The Indianapolis Review, and Rise Up Review. She is a lover of nature who spends most days contemplating what's moving, growing, or arriving around her.

What are you working on?

I’m working on a new manuscript that follows up on and develops themes of Queer identity begun in my forthcoming BOA Editions collection, Transitory. It’s a chronicling of and reckoning with murders of transgender and gender nonconforming people in 2020 that’s interspersed with personal poems about gender and sexual orientation. The new manuscript is (so far) a strictly personal exploration of the forces and projections of family and culture on my identity as a Queer person throughout my life. 

Thursday 24 November 2022

Emily Osborne : part four

How important is music to your poetry?

Poetry without rhythm and sonic appeal is like food without flavour – something I would rather not make or consume. Poetry so often used to be sung, but now songs-with-lyrics and poetry are generally approached as two different art forms. I think something has been lost in this separation. Perhaps this feeling comes from a background studying music (piano, flute and cello) and dance (ballet). I often compose lines while walking, to feel the beats throughout my body. I vocalize lines with different rhythms and intonations to feel their true hearts. Although I never willingly play music while writing, background music from a coffee shop or within the house has frequently altered the sound and sense of what I am writing, from the frenetic energy of dance music driving forward lines to the predictable lull of a nursery song reminding me of the power of brevity and familiarity. 

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Katerina Canyon : part thirteen

How does a poem begin?

For me, the poem begins with the observation, that one thing that strikes me in the heart to tell me that this (this experience, this moment, this feeling) is a poem. A lot of the time it is an injustice that I experienced. It could also be a feeling that comes across me, like a breeze grazing my skin.

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Jaeyun Yoo : part one

Jaeyun Yoo is a Korean-Canadian poet and psychiatrist living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, also known as Vancouver. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in Canthius, The /tƐmz/ Review, Prairie Fire, Grain, CV2, EVENT and others. She is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. She is a member of Harbour Centre 5, a collective of emerging poets. Their collaborative chapbook, Brine, was published in 2022. @jaeyunwrites on Twitter.

How did you first engage with poetry?

When I was in elementary school in South Korea, we were required to keep a diary which was reviewed regularly by the teacher. I used to procrastinate until the day before the deadline. I remember my mom looking stern but slightly amused at my scramble to fill the pages, then suggesting: Why don’t you write a poem for a diary entry? It would be shorter but still meaningful. 

So I first engaged with poetry as a “shortcut.” It quickly became fun and special to me. As I became more intentional about the elements of poetry, it often took longer than writing narratives!

Monday 21 November 2022

Ryanne Kap : part one

Ryanne Kap is a Chinese-Canadian writer from Strathroy, Ontario. Her work has been featured in Grain, carte blanche, Canthius, and elsewhere. Her short story “Heat” won first place in Grain’s 2020 Short Grain contest and was selected as a notable pick in the 2021 edition of Best Canadian Short Stories. Her debut chapbook, goodbye, already, was published by Frog Hollow Press in 2021. Ryanne is currently pursuing a PhD in English at the University of Calgary. She is also the managing editor at The Puritan. You can find her online at or on Twitter and Instagram @ryannekap.  

Photo credit: Abynaya Kousikan

What are you working on?

I’m currently working on a short story collection, as I’m definitely a fiction writer first and foremost. In terms of poetry, I’d like to try writing another chapbook; I feel like I’ve learned a lot since my first one, and I want to write poems that reflect how my writing style has changed.  

Sunday 20 November 2022

Grace : part three

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

Lately, Mary Oliver. We have a few of her books, so I’ll just pick one off the shelf at random. There’s an optimism in her poems and a grace that I’ve needed a bunch these past couple years. I never really cared much for nature when I was a kid, but as I get older, it’s something that I think about a lot more. There’s a great sadness that comes with this change—or maybe it’s just the sadness of growing up—that Mary Oliver’s poems have a knack for soothing.

Allison Thung : part three

How do you know when a poem is finished?

I think of a poem as finished when it is telling the story I wanted to tell, in the way I wanted to tell it. I think of it as really finished when it has been published and I can’t realistically make any further changes. Overall, I’d say it’s instinctual; based on gut feel. 

Saturday 19 November 2022

Frances Klein : part five

How does a poem begin?

For me, a poem can begin one of two ways. Sometimes I get a moment of inspiration, a line or an image that leads to a poem. More often, though, I use a prompt or writing activity to get a draft started. I’ve found that, between work and parenting, my mind is often out of the writing mode, and prompts help me get back to that place.

Thursday 17 November 2022

Emily Osborne : part three

What are you working on?

After a two-year hiatus in writing (due to parenting a 3yo and 1yo without childcare during the pandemic), I have just begun to write again while my baby naps and my 3yo attends preschool. My question the past few weeks has been what I can effectively work on given time constraints. Before my children were born I was working on a volume of Norse verse translations. The unpredictability of baby naps has made it nearly impossible to return to this. What surprised me was having inspiration for a fantasy novel and actually being able to write chapter drafts. Holding scenes and characters in my mind until I can work on them again has proven easier than holding the intricately-woven webs that are skaldic poems, with all their linguistic and historical threads. 

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Katerina Canyon : part twelve

Why is poetry important? 

That is such a big question! Poetry is our conscience. Without it, we would not be human.

Tuesday 15 November 2022

john compton : part five

How does a poem begin?

mostly spontaneously. i used to sit and try to write in the beginning of my poetic life and usually i would wait long enough i'd get upset and write some drivel. just to say i wrote a poem. 

now i just let it come to me. a word, a sound, an image or line. it bursts into my head and i begin to write. i let it overcome me. with doing this i don't just sit waiting. with the time i do sit, it is for rereading poems and editing. 

letting the poem come makes it more organic. less puppeteering. 

Sunday 13 November 2022

Grace : part two

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I just finished Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky. Had no idea what I was getting into, and I’m just floored by the concept of the book and how it’s not your typical collection of poems. Also Sanna Wani’s My Grief, the Sun and Conyer Clayton’s But the sun, and the ships, and the fish, and the waves. I’m very behind on my book stacks…

Allison Thung : part two

How does a poem begin?

Often as a resurfaced memory, weird dream, or conversation. Sometimes, born of a line or imagery that comes to me from out of the blue and refuses to go away until I turn it into a poem.

Saturday 12 November 2022

Frances Klein : part four

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I recently finished Sandra Lim’s collection, The Curious Thing. I found so much to learn from her unexpected images and language choices. I’ve also been teaching Matthew Henry’s The Colored Page, and it’s sparked incredible conversations with my students.

Thursday 10 November 2022

Emily Osborne : part two

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

So many for so many different reasons… this insufficient list is baroque! Tomas Transtromer, for unexpected images that haunt with their use of familiarity and alterity. Egill Skallagrimsson, for boldness in wrestling with death and the gods in poetry. Amy Clampitt, for writing with a kaleidoscope of references and sonic effects and still making it all work and build to that perfect pitch. Lucille Clifton, for how she combines directness and nuance with such economy and effect. Marosa di Giorgio, for crafting a world in verse both fantastical and mundane. John Donne, for showing how a conceit can express a thing and then turn on itself again and again.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Katerina Canyon : part eleven

How important is music to your poetry? 

Many of my poems are inspired by music. In my latest book, Surviving Home, you will find allusions to certain songs I listened to as a child. Music in and of itself is poetry.

Tuesday 8 November 2022

john compton : part four

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

the editing. i worry i will end up destroying the poem. the poem needs refining but also i usually love everything about it. 

i am the poet who edits each line as each line is written, as the poem comes. the edits after several days are the ones that tinker my brain.

small edits are different. using the word "the" too much and thus having to remove it is easy. but a line that really brings a powerful punch and having to remove it because it is something that doesn't quite fit, that is much harder. the lines i love but are not relevant to the poem. i always try to tell myself how can i work it in even though i know there is no hope. but i worry the line may never see the light of day otherwise.

Sunday 6 November 2022

Grace : part one

Grace is a settler living in Ontario on the traditional and Treaty territory of the Anishinabek people, now known as the Chippewa Tri-Council comprised of the Beausoleil, Rama, and Georgina Island First Nations. Her debut collection of poetry, The Language We Were Never Taught to Speak, is published by Guernica Editions and a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her work can be found in Grain Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, Frontier Poetry, Arc Poetry, and elsewhere. Find her on social media at @thrillandgrace.

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

There are so, so many! Amber Dawn’s collection of glosas really opened my eyes to the magic of form beyond sonnets, and how poets can have all these conversations with each other—sometimes even crossing space and time—by getting their poems to talk to each other!

Reading Chrystos for the first time was also amazing because it completely up-ended what I was taught in high school, and even university, when we studied poems. The subject matter, her tone of voice, her humour and brilliance… It had a huge impact on me in terms of showing the power of poems to not only teach you, but also make you feel things. Uncomfortable things, happy things. It definitely expanded my own approach to writing when I was first starting out.

Allison Thung : part one

Allison Thung is a poet and project manager from Singapore. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in ANMLY, Emerge Literary Journal, Lumiere Review, Juniper, Brave Voices Magazine, Roi Fainéant Press, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter @poetrybyallison or at

What are you working on?

I’m putting together my first chapbook, with the goal to start sending it out by January of next year, if not sooner. I’m excited, but also semi-terrified, because my poetry is inherently very personal, and having so many pieces in such proximity to each other, conversing with one another, inspires different sentiments depending on the kind of day I’m having. 

Saturday 5 November 2022

Frances Klein : part three

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

The compact nature of poetry allows readers to really focus on details of the language, both the individual word choice and the images created. I also find the use of line and line breaks in poetry so interesting; you have an incredible amount of power to control where the reader’s attention goes.

Friday 4 November 2022

Matthew M. C. Smith : coda

How important is music to your poetry?

It’s a huge catalyst. I’ve written before about being a Jim Morrison and Doors fan and I started writing under their influence, particularly their very first album. I listen to a wide variety of music ranging from John Taverner to Muse, Nirvana, Duran Duran, OMD and Fleetwood Mac. I don’t write directly from the inspiration of lyrics but music often gets me into that mediative poetic state – not a trance exactly – but in that heightened emotional state, which kickstarts writing. 

Thursday 3 November 2022

Emily Osborne : part one

Emily Osborne’s poetry, fiction and Old Norse-to-English verse translations have appeared in journals such as Vallum, CV2, Canthius, The Polyglot, The Literary Review of Canada, and Barren Magazine. Her debut book of poetry, Safety Razor, is forthcoming from Gordon Hill Press (Spring 2023). She is the author of the chapbook Biometrical (Anstruther Press) and winner of The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award for Poetry. Emily has a PhD in Old Norse Literature from the University of Cambridge. She lives on Bowen Island, BC, with her husband and two young sons.

How did you first engage with poetry?

My childhood home was filled with poetry books, thanks to my mother who had done graduate degrees in modern American poetry and Sylvia Plath. I remember being six and trying to muddle my way through verse that was totally abstruse and yet which seemed desperately important for me to understand. And yet, the first times I concretely remember writing poetry began in emotional responses to aesthetic experiences that seemed inexplicable in language. How could these feelings be communicated? I think many people first create visual or verbal art because of this instinct that a feeling, thought or experience requires an altered form of language or visualization in which to exist and be given to others, even if this instinct is unconscious. I was also lucky to have early experiences with literary criticism, which came from the late Fred Cogswell, who was a close family friend. I would send my poems to him and he would write back with annotated comments and suggestions. As an adult I look back and think of his phenomenal kindness in doing this, considering how busy he was with The Fiddlehead and teaching and everything else life throws at us. His legacy inspires me. 

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Katerina Canyon : part ten

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

Lately, for me, it is all about Audre Lorde. I have her complete collection. I'm re-reading The First Cities right now. One of my favorite poems in that collection is "Echo." It is a poem about being stuck, about the desire for renewal.

Tuesday 1 November 2022

john compton : part three

Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?

yes. my poetry has grown and the knowledge of what i understand with poetry has grown. when i first began writing poetry i knew very little of what i was doing or what poetry was. i enjoyed the words. now that i have been writing poetry for over 20 years i not only enjoy the words, but the look of the words, the sounds, the definition. i enjoy creating an expense ecosystem with few lines. i enjoy the manipulate of creating. the abstract and metaphor.