Crystal Hurdle

After teaching English and Creative Writing at Capilano University (North Vancouver) for 35 years, Crystal Hurdle is reinventing herself in retirement by practicing yoga (wimpily), cycling (badly—joggers can pass her), powwow dancing, tapestry weaving, and hand-building with clay. After Ted & Sylvia (2003) and Sick Witch (2020), poetry, were published by Ronsdale Press. Teacher’s Pets, a teen novel in verse, was published by Tightrope Books in 2014. Her work, poetry and prose, has been published nationally and internationally.

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

PoetryBook ReviewsBook Reviews of Author

Poetry by Crystal Hurdle

Book Reviews by Crystal Hurdle

Never Enough Sad Poems?
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Decolonial (Re)Visions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 240 (2020): 142-143.
  • What is Long Past Occurs in Full Light by Marilyn Bowering
  • What We Carry by Susan Glickman
  • There Are Not Enough Sad Songs by Marita Dachsel
Blessing [in] Darkness
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Concepts of Vancouver: Poetics, Art, Media Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 235 (Winter 2017): 149-150.
  • Flightpaths: The Lost Journals of Amelia Earhart by Heidi Greco
  • Defending Darkness by Pamela Porter
  • The Long Walk by Jan Zwicky
Augury amidst Aftermath
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Eclectic Mix Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 234 (Autumn 2017): 151-153.
  • Frequent, small loads of laundry by Rhonda Ganz
  • Auguries by Clea Roberts
  • After Swissair by Budge Wilson
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
  • 100 Days by Juliane Okot Bitek
  • Floating is Everything by Sheryda Warrener
Feathering the Caw
By Crystal Hurdle
Published in Agency & Affect. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 223 (Winter 2014): 126-27.
  • Thrum by Natalie Simpson
  • The White Crow by Christine Smart
  • As If a Raven by Yvonne Blomer
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 Syd 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
  • Sooner by Margaret Christakos
  • This Way the Road by Nina Berkhout
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
  • A Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland
  • One in Every Crowd: Stories by Ivan E. Coyote

Book Reviews of Crystal Hurdle's Works

After Ted & Sylvia
By Crystal Hurdle
Reviewed in The Sincerity Test by Bert Almon