Crystal Hurdle

CanLit Poet - Crystal HurdleCrystal Hurdle teaches Creative Writing and English at Capilano University in North Vancouver. In October 2007, Crystal was Guest Poet at the International Sylvia Plath Symposium at the University of Oxford reading from her After Ted & Sylvia: Poems. Crystal’s poetry has been published widely in anthologies and journals, including Canadian Literature, Fireweed, The Dalhousie Review, and The Capilano Review, of which she was Fiction Editor, and on whose Board of Directors she currently sits.

Questions & Answers

How/where do you find inspiration today?

Reading anything, not only poetry, is for me a source of inspiration. And doing physical activity such as walking, jogging, cycling can really get the creative juices flowing. Stuff that has been composting in the brain suddenly gels (to mix a metaphor on purpose!)

For me, the idea of author as ventriloquist of other voices greatly appeals. I have become increasingly keen on the monologue since using it in After Ted and Sylvia: Poems, in which I adopted the voices of Plath, Hughes, critics, authors, family members, and others involved in the scandalous literary romance. While each of several voices claims to “speak,” no voice listens; thus, communication occurs only in the integration of the disparate texts by the reader. Voice becomes narrative. And it’s great fun! Acting on the page rather than on the stage.

Did you write poetry in high school? If yes, how did you get started? If no, why not?

I didn’t write much poetry in my teens, but I was mesmerized by Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus” in a first-year Poetry course, and perhaps she became a muse that early on… Seeing the British houses in which she and Ted Hughes lived was a true delight and inspired a flood of poems. I suggest that you discover a passion and pursue it.

Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. websites, text books, etc.)?

Readers are writers, and writers are readers. I’ve always liked how the fall authors’ series at Granville Island in Vancouver is dubbed “writers and readers festival,” recognising how fine the line is, noting the overlap. It’s great to attend such events. As a constant reader, I find treasure in other written work, including my favourite, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, which has been a source of inspiration.


Works by Crystal Hurdle

Book ReviewsPoetryBook Reviews of Author

Book Reviews by Crystal Hurdle

"Space in [Ab]sence"
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Emerging Scholars 2. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 228-229 (Spring/Summer 2016): 230-231.
  • Whelmed by Nicole Markotić (Author)
  • 100 Days by Juliane Okot Bitek (Author)
  • Floating is Everything by Sheryda Warrener (Author)
"Feathering the Caw"
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Agency & Affect. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 223 (Winter 2014): 126-27.
  • Thrum by Natalie Simpson (Author)
  • The White Crow by Christine Smart (Author)
  • As If a Raven by Yvonne Blomer (Author)
"Poetry's Where is [T]here?"
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Canadian Literature 212 (Spring 2012): 127-128.
  • (made) by Cara Benson
  • In the Millennium by Barry McKinnon
  • Lost Gospels by Lorri Neilsen Glenn
  • The Secret Signature of Things by Eve Joseph
"Tropes of Time and Place"
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Prison Writing. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 208 (Spring 2011): 187-189.
  • Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names by Soraya Peerbaye
  • R's Boat by Lisa Robertson
  • Track & Trace by Zachariah Wells
  • Against the Hard Angle by matt robinson
"Comic Bildungsromans"
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Prison Writing. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 208 (Spring 2011): 151-153.
  • Fishing for Bacon by Michael Davie
  • Lemon by Cordelia Strube
  • Stripmalling by Jon Paul Fiorentino (Author)
"The Art of Work"
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Queerly Canadian. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 205 (Summer 2010): 136-137.
  • A Well-Mannered Storm by Kate Braid
  • Kahlo by Linda Frank
  • Paper Trail by Arleen Paré
  • The Office Tower Tales by Alice Major
"A Something of Crows?"
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in 50th Anniversary Interventions. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 204 (Spring 2010): 167-169.
  • The Rush to Here by George Murray
  • Human Resources by Rachel Zolf
  • Flutter by Alice Burdick
  • The Lost Country of Sight by Neil Aitken
"Blk, Wht, Read All Over"
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Gabrielle Roy contemporaine/The Contemporary Gabrielle Roy. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 192 (Spring 2007): 171-173.
  • Blue Feast by Shawna Lemay and Crystal Hurdle
  • Sooner by Margaret Christakos
  • This Way the Road by Nina Berkhout and Crystal Hurdle
"Shave the Milk Mustache"
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Gendering the Archive. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 217 (Summer 2013): 146-48.
  • A Matter of Life and Death or Something by Ben Stephenson (Author)
  • A Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland (Author)
  • One in Every Crowd: Stories by Ivan E. Coyote (Author)

Poetry by Crystal Hurdle

Book Reviews of Crystal Hurdle's Works

Blue Feast
By Shawna Lemay and Crystal Hurdle
Reviewed in Blk, Wht, Read All Over by Crystal Hurdle
This Way the Road
By Nina Berkhout and Crystal Hurdle
Reviewed in Blk, Wht, Read All Over by Crystal Hurdle
After Ted & Sylvia
By Crystal Hurdle
Reviewed in The Sincerity Test by Bert Almon