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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

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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.

His gravity

We shun those who bear the mark of death, and this is a form of baseness to which even I succumbed. Quite deliberately, out of a base instinct for self-preservation, I shunned my friend in the last months of his life, and for this I cannot forgive myself. Seen from across the street, he was like someone to whom the world had long since given notice to quit but who was compelled to stay in it, no longer belonging to it but unable to leave it…. I do not know whether it was because I was afraid of someone who was the embodiment of death or because I felt I had to spare him an encounter with someone who was not yet destined to go the same way. It was probably both. Watching him, I felt ashamed…. I am not a good character. I am quite simply not a good person.

The Great Canadian Writer's Craft Interview: Shannon Maguire

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 Shannon Maguire speaks with student Erin Hanley.

Tending toward liquid

Habit makes time relative for us. At twenty, the faces surrounding us have no history except in the present of the gaze we turn toward them. So, young adults, old people, and children seem forever framed in a “just as I see you” that makes them impervious to change. Later, one discovers that faces and bodies are material for transformation. One guesses then that time’s function is to pass very much alive like a current of heat and thought through the bodies gifted with this canny intelligence from which we learn to endow ourselves over the course of the years so as to repress elegantly the idea of death like the very last dregs.
  —Nicole Brossard, Intimate Journal, Trans. Barbara Godard
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