Jay Ruzesky has recently guest-edited a special issue of The Malahat Review on environmental literature called “The Green Imagination”. His next book is a novel about a medieval monumental astronomical clock. It is called The Wolsenburg Clock and will be published by Thistledown Press in 2009.
He was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1965 and raised in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Calgary, and Kelowna. He studied at Okanagan College (with John Lent), the University of Victoria (with Constance Rooke), the University of Windsor (with Alistair MacLeod), and at the Banff Centre for the Arts.
His poems and stories have appeared in Canadian and American journals such as Caliban, Prism international, Canadian Literature, Event, Saturday Night, Descant, Border Crossings, and Poetry Northwest. His books include Blue Himalayan Poppies (Nightwood, 2001), Writing on the Wall (Outlaw Editions, 1996), Painting The Yellow House Blue (House of Anansi, 1994), and Am I Glad To See You (Thistledown, 1992.
He is on the editorial board of the Malahat Review and teaches English, Creative Writing and Film Studies at Vancouver Island University. Essays, interviews and art criticism have appeared in Brick, Poetry Canada Review, and selected gallery publications. He is currently working on another novel, a play, and a manuscript of poems.
He lives on Vancouver Island.
Questions & Answers
Jay Ruzesky on poetry:
The desire to find an outlet for our creativity is a basic human need and as a young person in high school I tried a number of different things to satisfy that need—I drew and painted, I acted, I wrote. What inspired me to pursue writing particularly was a writing teacher I had in college, John Lent, who let me know that I didn’t need a magical gift if I wanted to be a writer; all I needed to do was to write and I’d be a writer.
One of the things about being any kind of artist is that art asks us to pay particular attention to details and if one does that, it’s quite possible to find inspiration just about anywhere. I have a notebook I carry around in which I simply record images, ideas, quotations, and overheard snippets of conversation.
As for form, I’m interested in the inherent music language has so I tend pay much more attention to rhythm and to what I think of as the energy of language than to more heavy-handed tools like rhyme.