Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


In The House of Saucer: an interview with Jesse Locke on his upcoming Simply Saucer biography, Heavy Metalloid Music

Jesse Locke is one of the great unsung heroes of Canadian music journalism. Through his years of work as a writer and editor for Weird Canada and AUX he has helped to expose countless bands and artists from across the country. In full disclosure, I am lucky to call him one of my best friends, so I was ecstatic when I heard that the Canadian-music-centric Eternal Cavalier Press had picked up his book, Heavy Metalloid Music, on the legendary Hamilton psychedelic proto-punks Simply Saucer.

"All Music is Coded," an Interview with Jean Marc Ah-Sen

“Somewhere amid the bladdered haze of sleep, I managed to buff a zigzag pathway across two whole floors, faintly resembling my initials—even with the horrors, my subconscious still being raved for acknowledgment.”

Music to Work to

I enjoy having a soundtrack while I write, music stimulates me when I lose concentration, but it can’t be anything with lyrics. Songs are too distracting. I think there’s a part of my mind that innately recognizes that words are being uttered and wants to try to make sense of them. As if I was being spoken to, I need to process the communication and think of a response so as to not be rude. So when I write the music I listen to tends to be on the instrumental and ambient side: background music I don’t have to fully commit to, that I can easily stop paying attention to but then settle right back in with when the writing pauses. In no way is this statement against the quality of this music.

On Fallout: an Interview with Michael Lista about "The Shock Absorber"

Please note the views and opinions expressed by writers in the Open Book writer-in-residence program are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Open Book, its staff or contributors

"Poetry Would Blow Up like Beyoncé" An Interview with Robin Richardson

Robin Richardson is a writer, poet and illustrator. She is the author of the poetry collections Grunt of the Minotaur, Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis, and Sit How You Want, forthcoming on Véhicule Press. Most recently she founded the Minola Review, an online journal for women, femme-identifying, and non-binary individuals. I remember repeatedly reading her poem “Little Robin Explains Growing Up” (from Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis) when it first appeared in Tin House, struck by its probing imagery (“What does static/ on pink cotton have to do with sleep?”) and confident, confessional tone (“I lost his love/ the day I learned to know things on my own”).

With Sook-Yin Lee on Selecting the Poets for "Where Have All the Poets Gone?"

It was exciting news when Sook-Yin Lee announced that she had tracked down seminal Canadian Poetry figure and recluse Phyllis Webb for her new documentary Where have all the Poets Gone? The short doc, currently streaming on CBC Books , begins with Lee discovering Webb interviewing bpNichol and bill bissett on the ‘60s CBC poetry talk show Extension. This prompts her to track Webb down and talk about why she gave up writing poetry. What follows is then Lee’s personal exploration of current poetry in Canada and features interviews with Stephen Collis, Samantha Bernstein, Ronnie Clarke, Liz Howard, Vivek Shraya, Lena Suksi, and Elana Wolff.

An Introduction and Disclaimer

Outside of a brief stint at Simon Fraser University’s The Writers’ Studio program, I have no post-secondary education. My experience with books has been primarily shaped as a bookseller, a job I’ve had for over a decade now. First as a volunteer at an anarchist bookstore in Vancouver that burned down; then at the now closed Book City in the Annex; and, most recently, at Type Books on Queen Street, which I hope nothing bad happens to.

Gearing Up for National Poetry Month

It has been such a pleasure and honour to be the Writer in Residence for OBT this past month, and especially in light of the fact that next month is also one that I take pleasure and honour in: April, aka National Poetry Month!

Like most month-long celebrations (say, "Black History Month," or "Women's History Month"), the time is never really enough as most would agree that such things should be/need to be celebrated every day of the year.

Some of my favourite ways to celebrate the upcoming month include:

- making a commitment to reading one poem per day, preferably aloud, and either in the morning or before sleep

On Making Connections

In my last post I talked a bit about the importance of connection to others, giving thanks towards and for others, and would like to continue with this theme by focusing on the "how" of connection. No writer is an island, and no book was ever written in total isolation. The writer is arguably the median of their medium--they arrive from having grown up reading a plethora of other writers and write largely for the purpose of reaching a plethora of other readers in time. The book is the conduit of making connections, and not just literary ones, but "human being" ones as well.

On Writing and Gratitude

Inspired by Ocean Vuong's piece in the "Writers Recommend" section of the Poets & Writers website, where the poet discusses what it means to be "stuck" with words, unable to write with ease, and offers ways of possibly navigating through such difficulties, I was struck by one particular suggestion: not to force the writing out of oneself and hope to snap out of it, but to slow down and give solemn thanks to others.

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