Archive for February, 2013


Fun: The Next Big Thing

February 7, 2013

Poet and editor Don Share has tagged me in a self-interview meme wherein you answer a few questions about your upcoming book or book-in-progress. I almost never do theses sorts of things, but I do have a few books in the mental oven, so I thought it might be a good exercise to try this out. I’d been debating whether to write about my ill-fated-in-that-it’s-taking-forever novel or the kids book I have coming next year or the next book of aphorisms, but given that Don’s a poet, I’m going to go with that last option.

What is the working title of the book?

Grace Notes (this is VERY much a “working” title… the book is years away)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I wrote my first book of aphorisms, Glimpse, I took my notes out of about 10 years of journals; the little bits and pieces that hadn’t been used and were hiding between the notes that became poems. After I whittled those down, I found myself writing new aphorisms specifically for that book, and I’ve never really stopped. I’m at about 200 now, and once I have about 300 good ones, I think I’ll be ready.

What genre does your book fall under?

That’s a good question. Aphorisms straddle the line between philosophy and poetry, showing elements of, and claiming heritage from, each. There are those out there who think aphorisms constitute prose, but I most commonly refer to them as “poems without all the poetry getting in the way”.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

How I wish this were applicable. But I generally think Brad Pitt should play me, on account of how similar we look.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

This is a collection of distilled poetic essences, ranging from the witty to the strange to the profound.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It’s still ongoing, and given the nature of the pieces–being drawn from many years worth of journals–there is no set length. Each book of aphorisms took as long as my life currently was/is.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I started collecting my aphorisms because when I read at Princeton the American aphorist James Richardson had noted a tendency toward the aphoristic line in my previous books, and suggested that poke around in my journals to see if I had missing aphorisms there. Then the Irish poet Paul Durcan spoke favourably of them after a reading I did in Dublin, and he suggested I should publish them as a volume. Once Glimpse came out, I was shocked at how well it was received and how well it sold. Most poets would kill to sell half a print run of their book, and here is Glimpse ripping through the prints. Anyway, since I am still writing the aphorisms, seemed like a no-brainer to do another book, so long as it can match the quality of the first one.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The first book, Glimpse, was called “the book of poetry most like to appear under a Canadian Christmas tree” because it’s quite popular with non-poetry people as well. Who’d have guessed?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

ECW is my publisher, if that’s what this means. Poets don’t have agents. Unless we’re talking about real estate or wine.

Make up a question you think is pressing in way of poetry today.

Why everybody gotta be hatin’ all the time?

Tags: I’ll tag Daisy Fried, Robin Richardson, Paul Vermeersch, Shanna Compton, and Zach Wells.


Publication: Reader’s Digest

February 5, 2013

I have a Word Power column in the back of the new Reader’s Digest (Feb 2013). Subject: Video Gaming. It’s a sort of vocabulary game wherein I provide you with a term and three possible definitions, and you need to figure out which is right. Last one I did was on “Poetry”. This one should be harder, and might set a few regular RD readers on edge, at least until they ask their kids/grandkids for help. There’s no link online, that I know of, but here’s a link to the main Reader’s Digest page for the print issue. There’s another one coming up this spring, on “coffee culture”. Fun stuff.