poetry blog hop

the very kind Dilys Leman invited me to this poetry blog hop. Her publication of The winter count is sure to shift your understanding of Canadian history and poetry….  Dilys and I met in the long poem workshop, run by Jay MillAr at the Toronto New School of Writing (TNSoW). Strangely enough each of the texts we worked on there are being published… check her post at: http://onmefall.wordpress.com/guest-blogger/

my nominees – include Sheila Stewart – who has published 2 gorgeous books – the shape of a throat (2012) and a hat to stop a train (2003). i have been lucky enough to know Sheila for a number of years and she always been happy to show me the toronto poetry scene.

the other nominee still remains a secret – hopefully to be revealed soon….

1. What am I working on?
I just finished a ms that has occupied my time and imagination and I am starting a new series of poems. it seems that for the latter I am just gathering words, images, phrases. merranew. it is odd but I thought I had the ms quite tied in terms of content but what I am beginning to imagine is quite different from the original conception. rather like my recently completed ms – which took on a life all its own.. and i think i am saying less about the new work cause it is fragile right now. it is still being cooked…

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
hard question. and then I have to think about my work as a genre and then a genre w/i poetry. I resist categories cause they seem to limit rather than expand the presence of the world and her unknowns (i would subscript her but i can’t seem to find the right combination of keys).

my work starts with a sensuous connection to language. language has a startling effect, like a branch falling – that fall makes me i realize that language can be a solid thing – we can heft it. and then it vanishes.

the poetry I love is adventurous though this may not be the correct word. it does not care about its hair, which usually needs cutting. it launches itself into the world which it finds ways to puncture, and breaks through walls. it knows how to pick a lock but can’t explain to you each of the steps – at least not one after the other. it wears the same clothes every day and may eat the same lunch. it crawls into corners, seeks letters to make words to make lines… and it aches. the poetry I love tells me to turn a bit, move just a fraction north or east and there it reveals…

3. Why do I write what I do?
it is like being caught. captured. and at the same time it is being the patient hunter, waiting. for the word, the sound. that stubbled blue ledge of sound. i write what i do because i must. i am drawn toward (and this has been seemingly endless) what i could easily ignore, walk past. dying worms on sidewalks, people living in communities who as they are abandoned are understood as the already dead

i write what i do to deliberate upon the effects of each impress that has been garnered through gesture, place, occasion, sound.

4. How does my writing process work?
gathering lists of words, phrases, colours, sensations. it is mostly picking up, and storing. eyes closed. i really do need to lie down with my eyes closed and my arms at my sides, slightly outstretched and my palms facing up….  there are times when the subway is perfect for writing. or walking too. trying not to trip as a word shouts itself. I was really stuck last spring, trying to finish my last ms, just after my mom died. I could not focus. and I had vowed not to do another workshop. but I ended up in one with lorna crozier and it was bloody brilliant. I write best with cups of tea, other people taking care of me and ensuring I eat and have more tea, and that I go for 2-3 walks a day. and that I lie down to write…. and then reading to others. reading favourite poems, poems I had never known. for me it is best to write poetry like it is my job. a job in pyjamas. where I roll out of bed and onto the couch where I imagine and search for language and read.

i seem to be attracted to things that i can play with. i want to play with ways words are arranged, meaning is arranged, who gets to make meaning. i am at curious as to how language is gestural, voiced as guttural sounds indistinguishable gffxhilllpps gəglən.

for poetry
photograph of written text from Huronia Regional Centre; digitally manipulated.

now as I start this new series I have a provisional map… but it is about all of the pieces and the landscape feels enormous. I want to write poems like I used to draw – upside down, attending to curves and tangles of line…

and a bio. ok, in a recent bio I wrote
her current praxis gestures toward writing, which elides onto-epistemological dependence on the marks of ableist, hetero-patriarchal EuroWestern knowledge/s. she uses a crip poetics to apply a creative critique directed toward our dependence on the marks of normative knowings. she teaches at york university.
i think i’ll stick with it, just for fun. and i will add that my world-changing daughters are also really important, as are constant and kitten….

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