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Still illegitimate

In this first-person novel I’m working on now, I told myself I wouldn’t write about clothes, I wouldn’t write about vanity, I wouldn’t write about depression, and I wouldn’t write about feminism, because these are all the things that I kind of got taken to task for in Heroines. And I find in my next book, which is called Switzerland, I’m doing all this more intensely, but in framing it as a novel, I’m allowed to play more with the unreliable or heightened narrator, that was already present in Heroines. It was Cocteau who said: “Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don’t like—then cultivate it.

Trash

  I have entered middle age.
  I am overweight, and I live with a little dog and two cats. I have been alone for more than seven years.
  I keep a journal, as Jenny Craig suggests, about what I eat and how I feel about the things I eat: it is emotionally exhausting.
  The entries include the following sad arcana:
  —The delicious white border of a bad steak, what the sea leaves when it drags its waves back.
  —Fat, as yellow as custard, but sweeter than that. I touch and caramelize my glowing flesh.
  —The livid red marks that jag like lightning below my stomach are a fire I cannot extinguish.
  I have let myself go….

Craving a talent not my own

Those who work in London are all either going down with flu, recovering from flu or in the grip of flu—even though most of the people going down with flu, recovering from flu or in the grip of flu don’t have flu at all. What they’re actually suffering from is verbal inflation because no one says they have a cold any more, it’s always flu. If people have a cold they say they have flu; if they say they have a cold it means there’s nothing wrong with them. Flu and cold are becoming interchangeable. We say flu when we mean cold but we say flu when we mean flu because no one wants to say they have pneumonia when all they’ve got is flu because if you say you have pneumonia people might think you have AIDS.

The Great Canadian Writer's Craft Interview: Tim Prior

This spring, students from Malvern Collegiate Institute's Writer's Craft class conducted interviews with Canadian poets as part of a class project. The interviews will be posted on The Great Canadian Writer's Craft page on Open Book throughout June and July. In this interview, poet Tim Prior speaks with student Fox Mitchell.

Hey Mr. Prior,

Nice meeting you, in a way. I’m very glad that I could interview you. I think your poetry is great. It provokes a lot of deep, sharp imagery when I read it. So, I’m Fox Mitchell. A high school student. That’s really it. So far. Here we go.

Grounds for Communion

  People in grief think a great deal about self-pity. We worry it, dread it, scourge our thinking for signs of it. We fear that our actions will reveal the conditions tellingly described as “dwelling on it.” We understand the aversion most of us have to “dwelling on it.” Visible mourning reminds us of death, which is construed as unnatural, a failure to manage the situation…. We remind ourselves repeatedly that our own loss is nothing compared to the loss experienced (or, the even worse thought, not experienced) by he or she who died; this attempt at corrective thinking serves only to plunge us deeper into the self-regarding deep.

The Great Canadian Writer's Craft Interview: Larissa Lai

This spring, students from Malvern Collegiate Institute's Writer's Craft class conducted interviews with Canadian poets as part of a class project. The interviews will be posted on The Great Canadian Writer's Craft page on Open Book throughout June and July. In this interview, poet Larissa Lai speaks with students Kristina Hopp and Savanna Spurrell.

Hello Larissa Lai,

Modest Portraits of My Mother

So perhaps my mother doesn’t need to be my queen; simply being my mother is already a lot, even if the rare kisses I place on her cheeks aren’t so majestic.
  —Kim Thúy, Ru

**
As a statue:

Riffs and Rants: Joseph Maviglia Chats About His New Book: Critics Who Know Jack (Urban Myths, Media and Rock and Roll).

Years before we met one another, I had spied poet and singer/songwriter Joseph Maviglia hanging out at the original Bar Italia on College Street in Toronto’s Little Italy. He would stroll in and sit alone, sipping an espresso, quietly absorbed in a book he was reading or jotting down notes. Even in stillness, he had an overtly theatrical air. So, I wasn’t surprised to discover that he was indeed a poet and performer. Maviglia has previously released two CDs of roots/rock music and has had four books of poetry published, including A God Hangs Upside Down (Guernica Editions), Movietown (Streetcar Editions), Winter Jazz (Quarry Press), and Mitla (Eternal Network).

A Story that No One Owns

  I’m sure my point is only too plain… Lizzie is not dead, etc.—but there is a “mixture of fact & fiction,” and you have changed her letters. That is “infinite mischief,” I think…. One can use one’s life as material—one does, anyway—but these letters—aren’t you violating a trust? IF you were given permission—IF you hadn’t changed them… etc. But art just isn’t worth that much…. It’s not being “gentle” to use personal, tragic, anguished letters that way—it’s cruel.

The Great Canadian Writer's Craft Interview: George Murray

This spring, students from Malvern Collegiate Institute's Writer's Craft class conducted interviews with Canadian poets as part of a class project. The interviews will be posted on The Great Canadian Writer's Craft page on Open Book throughout June and July. In this interview, poet George Murray speaks with students Hannah Casey and Rachel London-Wallace.

Hi George, our names are Hannah and Rachel and we are ecstatic to have the opportunity to interview you; you were both of our top choices for this project. We hope you enjoy our selected questions. Thank you for taking the time, cheers.

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