Iain Higgins was born in Vancouver in a previous century. Before he wrote poetry he sometimes stopped pucks. One of those pucks may have struck him too hard, because at some point he was afflicted by seriousness and stayed in school too long. This got him a decent job, but whenever he wants to be playful again he writes poetry, which will never get him a decent job. He has published a book of poems called Then Again with Oolichan in 2005 and has another in progress or in limbo, depending.
Questions & Answers
Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?
Not one, but several, I think: hearing a Leonard Cohen song when I was about 20, looking at something and realizing that I wasn’t just seeing it but was also feeling it physically (even the colours), recognizing that words could be literally moving. All of these things happened at about the same time, when I was about 20. Maybe I was just awakening from the long slumber of my life till then.
How/where do you find inspiration today?
The thing about inspiration is that you don’t find it: it finds you. The best you can do is be ready for it, and that involves a stance of alert and yet relaxed openness (the way a goalie might wait for a slapshot from the point), and the openness is multiple. I have to be open-eyed, open-eared, open-handed, open-minded, and open-hearted. One has to be a receiver before one can be a transmitter.
What is your writing process?
It varies, and depends a great deal on work and family commitments. If a poem is coming, though, I try to make space and time for it, as those who once met Odysseus on his travels did for him. Trying to be hospitable to the arriving poem is the best one can do, and on a good day the visitor will stay and you will learn enough to set down an account of it that might count as a poem.