Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 28, 2015 - 1:02pm
BT: Hi Julie! First of all, you very recently had a brand new baby boy! Congratulations! Also, thanks for still managing to find time to chat with us.
In 2013, your debut collection Tangle was released by Tightrope Books and received a great deal of praise. More recently in 2015, you received an honourable mention in the Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry competition for your poem Skinbyrds.
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 23, 2015 - 12:35am
It is rare that you come across a book of poetry, or any book for that matter, that you read in one sitting, from cover to cover, and then immediately begin to read again. Even more rare is when it’s a text that you barely understood in the first place. Yet, this is what happened when I first cracked the pages of The Book of Festus by poet John Wall Barger (Palimpsest Press, 2015). Reading Festus on the subway was my first mistake. Although the commute is an hour and a half one-way, it wasn’t nearly long enough for such a collection (110 pages total).
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 20, 2015 - 11:24pm
BT: Michael, in 2014 you released your first chapbook, Swan Dive, with Frog Hollow Press. Of course, before that chapbook was even published you were already a well-known, well-respected poet in the Canadian Poetry community, partially because you seemed to win every contest that you entered. You work hard, and you don’t seem to stop. In fact, after finishing your MA in English with a Creative Thesis at University of Toronto, you recently moved to Ithaca, New York where you’re now completing your MFA in creative writing at Cornell University.
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 20, 2015 - 3:35pm
In 2014, Jim Johnstone published a selection of Earle Birney’s work as part of The Porcupine’s Quill’s Essential Poets series. Though he currently holds editorial positions at Palimpsest Press, Representative Poetry Online, and Anstruther Press, Johnstone recently committed to a second entry in the series, and is readying The Essential D.G. Jones for Fall 2016. I caught up with him as he was writing a critical introduction on the former Governor General’s Award winner’s work.
BT: I’d like to talk about editing The Essential D.G. Jones. First off, can you tell me a little bit about The Essential Poets series?
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 16, 2015 - 8:36pm
BT: You’re currently a poet/fiction writer, family physician, and PHD student in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. In your dissertation, “Damage, Weapons, and Medicine: Pain Re-Presented as Possibility,” you argue that pain can be transcendent rather than a negative experience. Anyone who has experienced severe or chronic pain would probably be skeptical. I think most would agree that pain changes you as it affects your mood, how you concentrate, your ability to socialize with other people, etc. but it's hard to imagine it as anything other than negative. How exactly can the bearer of pain "transcend?" What might that look like in concrete terms? How can it not default into the negative framework?
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 14, 2015 - 1:36pm
BT: So, Laura, you’re a talented book designer with Dundurn Press in Toronto, and you’ve recently had two of your designs ranked in the top CanLit Book Covers of 2015 by CBC Books. (You can check out all the covers here)
Tell us about these two covers in particular. Why do you think these covers stood out to the judges?
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 12, 2015 - 4:30pm
BT: Phoebe, you’re a talented poet, reviewer, and educator living in Toronto, and you also run an insightful blog where you post articles related to writing, two of which were incredibly well done: One titled “What to Grab Onto: A Newcomer’s Guide to Toronto’s Literary Huddle” and “You aren’t the only Winner,” which readers can find here
You also published a chapbook titled “Occasional Emergencies” by Odourless Press in 2013, and you’re currently finalizing your debut full-length collection of poems, some of which have recently appeared in several literary magazines including This Magazine, CV2, Grain, The Malahat Review, and Arc Poetry.
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 10, 2015 - 10:58am
Welcome back Open Book readers! Here's Part Two of an earlier post on some advice for new writers embarking on their first book experience.
# 3 Give Back to the Community
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 8, 2015 - 3:09pm
“The problem with the writing community right now is that we’re not reading each other anymore.” This statement came from a friend and fellow poet over a beer at a recent Pivot Reading in Toronto. At first, I wanted to disagree. I thought about all the books I had purchased, the stacks I bring home from stores and literary events, how I try to make a point of reading a decent percentage of what comes out of the Canadian Poetry community, especially Ontario. I knew that others did the same. Then I thought about my own book and fell into one of those self-pitying, insecure pits that many emerging writers are prone to. I thought about my own sales last year. I made the connection. I agreed. We’re not reading each other anymore.
Submitted by Blair Trewartha on December 7, 2015 - 7:52pm
BT: Stevie, in 2014 you published your brilliant debut collection, Sharps, with Goose Lane Editions. Not only did you receive numerous rave reviews in The National Post, Canadian Literature, and The New Quarterly, to name a few, but you were also nominated for The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. A lot of writers get asked about the experience of publishing their first book, but I'm more interested in your experience afterward. After such a successful debut, what comes next for Stevie Howell? What have you been up to the last year and what can readers look forward to?