The natural phenomenon is false.
Another constant, unsolved war
of nerves on a separate planet.
The lay of the dead land seems
inevitable, if only, after the fact.
Set up and take down comprise
the entire show. No moon, no drip.
A certain kind of sentence lands
its dream job by lowering its ends
and means. ‘Of ’ but not ‘from’
the molecular set. Straight forward
guy bargains for return life from
passing cloud. Drained of all
remarkable colour coordinates.
To rattle off the food chain for
thirty seconds. Everything eats and
gets rid of heat, somehow. More flies
will come and eat our files. So
we need to get rid of the legit pigs,
if an apocalypse ever happens.

Questions and Answers

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

There are a lot of things that make me want to be a poet. Mostly it’s from reading, seeing, and hearing poems and other art works that excite me. I had the good fortune to take a creative writing class at the University of Alberta with the poet Christine Stewart, called “The Poetics of Correspondence,” about eight years ago. Her class made me realize a bunch of things: that poetry is a continuum I’m just one small part of, that poetry can be made with collaborators and friends, living or dead, and that the human struggles for justice and understanding can and do take place in poetry, and taking part in that is something to be proud of.

How does your writing process unfold?

The way I write varies, but one of my favorite things to do is just record any and everything I can in a notebook. This can include my own thoughts and observations, as well as things I see, hear, and read. For example, the last line of the poem “Pamphlet” was something I overheard a stranger say in the back of a van as we drove down a highway last year in Nicaragua. I go through my notebooks and assemble poems out of my notes. I try to find different voices and textures in the notes that are interesting and then juxtapose them with other voices and textures. Some visual and prosodic things occur, mostly by impulse, and trial and error. Finally, I read it out loud and test it for sound. I want the poem to have a voice, though it’s interesting to me that, because of this method, it’s not my voice, per se, it’s the poem’s voice that I begin to hear. Once I’ve found it the poem is more or less done. “Pamphlet” is an example of this method.

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.