Susan Glickman

Susan Glickman grew up in Montreal, the oldest of 4 children. Now she lives in Toronto and has two of her own. She taught everything from grade two to University, both full and part-time; currently she teaches creative writing and is a freelance editor of academic books. She has published five collections of poetry, a novel for adults, a novel for kids, and a book of literary criticism.

For more information see her website, www.susanglickman.com

Questions & Answers

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

It seems to me that from the first moment I heard poetry, before I could even read, it entranced me. In those early days my fascination was more with the sounds and rhythms of words than their meanings, and I continued making up rhyming poems for many years after I learned to read.

I think I only started writing poems that didn’t rhyme once I was in high school, once my experience of language became more grounded in text than in the speaking and singing voice. The first poet who made me think that maybe I could pursue poetry seriously was Leonard Cohen; I bought The Spice Box of Earth at a book fair in my school gymnasium when I was in grade ten and it took the top of my head off.

How/where do you find inspiration today?

I used to find inspiration in books, then in landscapes and lovers. Now it’s just everywhere. I don’t even think of it as something as exalted as “inspiration” it’s more humbly “material.” Every single thing I experience can pass through poetry.

Poetry is like Lyra’s alethiometer in The Golden Compass. By writing it I come to know the world.

What is your writing process?

I try to make time to write every day, even if all I can muster up is the energy to edit stuff I wrote the day before. I usually need to spend about an hour warming up at my desk by reading my email, paying bills, just getting my butt firmly fixed in the chair. Then once I get going I find it really hard to stop. Sometimes I’ll even get up in the middle of the night to keep working.

What is your revision/editing process?

With prose, I edit fanatically, constantly, incessantly, as I go. Each day I go over the previous days work and edit it, adding and deleting, adding and deleting, and eventually moving forward. With poetry, there tends to be a lot more deleting and revising than adding as I refine exactly what it is that needs to be said. Sometimes if I’m lucky, with a shortish lyric, I get the first draft the first day and then just fiddle with it for ages. With a long poem it may take months.

Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. websites, text books, etc.)?

I use memory. That’s a damn fine resource! Except when you can’t remember things (see above).

When you were high school aged, what would have been helpful/motivating to hear from a published poet?

Read lots, write lots. Learn your craft. Think about how you learn to play an instrument, or a sport—practice is everything. That means you MUST revise. Don’t assume that your first draft is the best you can do!!


Works by Susan Glickman

PoetryArticlesBook ReviewsBook Reviews of Author

Poetry by Susan Glickman

Articles by Susan Glickman

Book Reviews by Susan Glickman

Honky Tonk History
By Susan Glickman
Published in The Long Poem / Remembering bp Nichol. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 122-123 (Autumn/Winter 1989): 148-150.
  • The Jesse James Poems by Paulette Jiles and Susan Glickman

Book Reviews of Susan Glickman's Works

The Tale-Teller
By Susan Glickman
Reviewed in Stranger Debris by Hannah McGregor
The Violin Lover
By Emily Doucet and Susan Glickman
Reviewed in Beauty and the World by Emily Doucet
The Jesse James Poems
By Paulette Jiles and Susan Glickman
Reviewed in Honky Tonk History by Susan Glickman
Complicity
By Susan Glickman
Reviewed in Need to Witness by Lorraine Weir