Questions and Answers

Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?

I wrote lots of poetry as a kid. My friend and I would anonymously run our short poems in the classified ads of the local newspaper–I think it was free up to twenty-five words. We were weird kids. I’ve recently emerged from a fifteen-year dry spell where I wasn’t really writing poetry. For some reason, I was trying to write novels. My genre was the unfinished novel. Finding my way back to poetry has been an incredible release. There isn’t a specific moment that inspired me to pursue poetry; there have been plenty of moments that have conspired to lead me away from it. It’s good to be back.

How/where do you find inspiration today?

Riding the bus has been a big help to my poetic practice. There’s a contemplative moment while you’re waiting for the bus. You overhear snippets of conversation, the rhythms of speech. If you can’t write anything down right away, all the better–you’re forced to revolve the words through your head, hone them down into something memorable that you can hold through other conversations and interactions until you get to that quiet spot. There’s automatic editing, and there’s time for further thoughts to unfold. Support public transit!

This poem “Compression” originally appeared in House, Home, Hospitality Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 237 (2019): 121.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.