Eric Miller was born in Toronto. His first book Song of the Vulgar Starling was published by Broken Jaw Press in 1999. His second book In the Scaffolding appeared with Goose Lane in 2005, and was short-listed for the ReLit Award. Ekstasis published his third book 2006; it was short-listed for a BC Book Prize. His latest book The Day in Moss appeared with Fitzhenry & Whiteside in 2008. He has just completed a novel set in eighteenth-century Canada. He currently teaches at the University of Victora, Victoria, BC.
Questions & Answers
Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?
I recall one originary experience. I was very small, and for the first time in my life a bird, a chickadee, landed on my hand to eat seeds. It was bitter winter in the north of Ontario. Something about the feel of the bird on my hand made me write a poem about it.
How/where do you find inspiration today?
Perhaps unusually I have always felt that I have a Muse. Inspiration comes from this Muse. History and natural history offer inexhaustible topics. I get exhausted, but the topics never do. Nor does the Muse.
What is your writing process?
What is your revision/editing process?
Sometimes a poem takes years to write—more than a decade. Other times it comes right the first time. A poem may go through almost countless revisions. Or none.
Did you write poetry in high school? If yes, how did you get started? If no, why not?
Yes. It was the same impulse that drove me to out of high school.
Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. websites, text books, etc.)?
Anything helps. It is good to know history, to know science, to practise crafts and arts other than linguistic ones. Read authors from all periods and all cultures. Disdain nothing.
When you were high school aged, what would have been helpful/motivating to hear from a published poet?
Yes. Many people helped me when I was young and I remember them (they were numerous) with thanks. The sense of gratitude grows rather than diminishes.