Alan R. Wilson was born and brought up in New Brunswick and now lives in Victoria, BC. His work has appeared in over 40 journals and anthologies, including In Fine Form: The Canadian Book of Form Poetry (Raincoast) and Jailbreaks: 99 Canadian Sonnets(Biblioasis). He has written one novel and three volumes of poetry. The most recent, Sky Atlas (Fitzhenry and Whiteside), was shortlisted for the 2009 Atlantic Poetry prize. His novel, Before the Flood (Cormorant) was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, the BC Book Prize for Fiction, and won the 2000 Books in Canada/Chapters First Novel Award. A screenplay based on a chapter was a winner in the Atlantic Film Festival Competition and was produced and aired on CBC and Global. He has recently completed his second novel, Lucifer’s Hair, and hopes to see it in print before his daughter starts grade one.
Questions & Answers
Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?
Though there was never a specific moment that inspired me to write my own poetry, I remember in high school reading, for the first time, the “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by W. B. Yeats and being amazed by the evocative power of his language.
How/where do you find inspiration today?
All things are inherently poetic once we stop taking them for granted.
What is your writing process?
Close your eyes, open your mind, and hope for the best.
What is your revision/editing process?
After a new poem has settled awhile, showing it to someone whose opinion you respect and who is not afraid to give his or her real opinion and suggestions can be invaluable.
Did you write poetry in high school? If yes, how did you get started? If no, why not?
Yes, and even earlier. I even wrote stories that I’d put into binders and make my poor friends read.
Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. websites, text books, etc.)?
Poetry groups can be invaluable, as long as the focus is improving the work and not just bolstering the ego.
When you were high school aged, what would have been helpful/motivating to hear from a published poet?
Just hearing from someone with success in the area would be helpful, whatever that person might have to say.