Friday, November 21, 2008

Upcoming Events!

Poison Ivy & Mistletoe Misfirings
Sunday, December 14th

The ARTery
9535 Jasper Avenue

Are there still 'feminine' or 'masculine' ways of identifying our writing? Does gender still bear literary relevance? Is Mommy still kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe?

The space will be free from Noon - 5 pm for a book fair, representing a wide array of local journals, publishers, and small-to-even-smaller presses;

1-2 pm, join us for a presentation on our topic of discussion;

3-4 pm
we hook up the microphone and open the floor so that you, the audience, can share your finest work!

7-10 pm a celebratory evening ensues with music and readings by noted celebrities, including: Michelle Boudreau, Thea Bowering, TL Cowan, ryan fitzpatrick, Jill Pollock, Jadon Rempel, and U of A Writer-in-Residence Lynn Coady
(Cover by donation; proceeds in support of our Factory (West) performers, and the Edmonton Women's Shelter.)

Contact us at for more information, or if you are interested in participating in the day's events.

Check out our main event page on Facebook!

Tracy Johnson is a university of Alberta student currently working on her second Bachelors of Arts in women studies, her first degree was in sociology and psychology. She intends to get into the non-profit industry working with and for marginalized groups.

Heather Zwicker has been teaching in the English Department at the UofA since 1993, where her research and teaching range through feminism, postcolonialism and cultural studies. She is the Board Chair for Exposure: Edmonton's Queer Arts and Culture Festival, and a columnist for Unlimited Magazine.
Other (notable!) factoids:
- She blogs (sonography of the heart)
- She's from Edmonton; Edmonton is where she learned to be a feminist
- She edited Edmonton on Location: River City Chronicles (NeWest Press 2005)
- She once dressed in butch drag for an Alberta Beef show and nearly got decked by a friend who didn't recognize her and thought she was making a move on her girl.

Jill Pollock had her first break into the music scene when she performed the Canadian National Anthem at the Parkview Elementary School Assembly on her Yamaha recorder. She was eight and probably had pizza on her face and her shoes were most definitely on the wrong feet. Since then she has studied theatre, some philosophy and some other stuff on top of it all and has lived out of a smelly backpack whilst traveling around Australia for a while.
She stumbled upon the Ukulele when she was riding a bus somewhere insignificant to this bio and decided "hey, I'm going to learn to play this. and then, i will play it...a lot...probably more than I should...but hey, that's the way it goes" (she said all that to herself whilst sitting on that bus.) Jill likes trees, stretching, the colour greenish-blue and clapping her hands a lot. Jill likes you, too.

Michelle Boudreau is a songwriter, spoken work artist, gardener and mom. All the way from dusty Saskatchewan, follow the river to the deep forests of Alberta. You'll hear a melodic twist, a unique blend of energetic Folk and Roots music.
With her 1962 Guild Acoustic, ripping and tearing soundboards across Canada, Michelle will bring an audience to groove, laugh, cry to her catchy indie/folk melodies. Michelle has a couple of cd's that would make EXCELLENT Christmas presents...

ryan fitzpatrick lives and writes in Calgary where he is a past-editor of filling Station magazine, the curator of the Flywheel Reading Series, and the publisher of MODL Press. His first book, FAKE MATH, was published by Snare Books in Fall 2007.

Jadon Rempel's poetry has been published in Canada, the US and Europe. Recent publications include 42opus, Blueprint Review, Rose & Thorn, Misunderstandings, Existere, the Daily Haiku Anthology and Monday's Poem by Leaf Press. He has made several appearances on CBC Radio, is active with the Edmonton Poetry Festival and his work is nominated for a Pushcart Award in the US. Happily, he lives and writes in Edmonton with his wife and daughter.

Thea Bowering writes, teaches and bartends in Edmonton. Much of her fiction involves the female flaneur. Her own practices make her think the thrill of walking where she isn't supposed to walk, mixed with talking the way she isn't supposed to talk, suggest something about a woman's way with words.
Her recent writing appears in The Capilano Review: The Sharon Thesen Issue, and Splurge 2.

T.L. Cowan is an Edmonton-based writer, performer, and purveyor of smut. Her on-going performance cycle, The Twisted She Poems, explores themes of perversion, popularity and pathology all funnelled through conventional and unconventional performances of gender.

Lynn Coady is author of the novels Strange Heaven (1998), Saints of Big Harbour (2003), and, most recently, Mean Boy (2006). She has also published a short story collection, Play the Monster Blind (2000), and edited a collection of short fiction from Atlantic Canada called Victory Meat (2003).
Her first novel was nominated for a Governor-General's Award for fiction, and since then she has garnered the Canadian Authors Association's Under-Thirty and Jubilee Award (for short fiction), as well as the Dartmouth Book Award and the Atlantic Bookseller's Choice Award. Most recently, Coady acted as editor of The Anansi 40th Anniversary Reader, published in 2007 by House of Anansi press.
Coady has written non-fiction for various publications, and has taught creative writing at Douglas College, Simon Fraser University's Writer's Studio, The Sage Hill Writing Experience, The Maritime Writer's Workshop, and the Banff Center's Wired Writing Studio.
While in Edmonton she expects to finish her next novel 'Hyperborea', which, appropriately enough, was started in Edmonton in 2006, and also hopes to develop a short play for the Edmonton fringe. And maybe--just maybe--start working on a new novel she has in mind.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Factory (West) Reading Series, July 15, 2008

A monthly Edmonton reading series of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction originally established by rob mclennan during his tenure as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta (2007-8) in January, 2008, now organized/hosted by Edmonton poet Trisia Eddy, editor/publisher of Red Nettle Press;

The name "Factory (West)" refers to the fact that mclennan has been running readings in Ottawa since 1995 that now exist under the title The Factory Reading Series, held regularly(ish) at the Ottawa Art Gallery;

Due to the very sad demise of our beloved venue, Cafe Select, this month's readings will be held at Remedy Cafe, who have very graciously opened their doors to be sure to make your way down to 8631-109th Street;
doors @ 7pm
readings @ 7:30pm

with readings this month by:

Clarice Eckford
Lainna Lane
Kevin Kerr
& Ted Bishop

Clarice Eckford
is an Edmonton-based actor and poet. She is a former member of the Stroll of Poets Society, and her work can be seen in 4 Corners: A Feminist Review, Xpress: Youth Book Project #1 and This Magazine. Eckford is a three-time nominee for the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for excellence in theatre performance and she holds a BFA in drama from the University of Alberta. Her award-winning theatre company, Pony Productions, is dedicated to the production of new works.


Lainna Lane has lived in Ottawa, Vancouver, and most recently Edmonton where she is very slowly completing her English and Comparative Literature degree at the University of Alberta. She finances this by working in an office tower guarded by peregrines. When not in office or school she enjoys traveling, working at Other Voices literary magazine, playing dodgeball, and mixing a mean mint julep. She has one publication in this year's student edition of the Olive Reading Series chapbook, as well as the Peter F. Yacht Club, #10.


Kevin Kerr is a playwright, director, actor, and founding member of Vancouver’s Electric Company Theatre, with whom he’s co-written numerous plays including The Wake, The Score, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, Flop, The Fall, and Brilliant! The Blinding Enlightenment of Nikola Tesla.

In the 1999/2000 season, he was Writer in Residence at Touchstone Theatre where he developed Unity (1918) (Talonbooks, 2002), which earned him the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. He is the recipient of three Jessie Richardson Awards for Outstanding Original Play (Brilliant!, The Score, and Unity) and his work has been produced across Canada, in the U.S., France, Australia, and the U.K.

Recent works include The Remittance Man, which was commissioned and premiered by Kelowna’s Sunshine Theatre, Studies in Motion, which was co-produced by Electric Company Theatre and Theatre at UBC, and the feature-length screen adaptation of the Electric Company play The Score for CBC Television. His latest work, Skydive, received its premiere in 2007 at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver, co-produced by Vancouver’s Realwheels Theatre and the Belfry Theatre in Victoria.

At present he’s at work on an Adaptation of Pierre Berton’s “Secret World of Og” for Vancouver’s Carousel Theatre, as well as a new collectively created work with Electric Company Theatre.

He is currently the Lee Playwright in Residence, a two-year position at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he is living with his wife, poet Marita Dachsel, and his two sons.


Ted Bishop’s [see his 12 or 20 questions here] literary nonfiction has appeared in Cycle Canada, Enroute, Prairie Fire, Rider, Word Carving: The Craft of Literary Journalism, and What I Meant to Say: The Private Lives of Men. His Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books (Penguin 2005 /Norton 2006), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award and the Writers’ Trust Award, won the City of Edmonton Book Prize and the MAX Award (Motorcycle Awards of Excellence), and has been translated into Korean; it was also named a Best Book by the Globe and Mail, CBC’s Talking Books, and Playboy magazine, where he appeared (in textual contiguity) with Pamela Anderson. He is at work on a new book for Penguin, “The Social Life of Ink.”

info: Trisia Eddy at
further readings: begin again in October!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Factory (West) Reading Series, June 17, 2008

a montly Edmonton reading series of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction originally established by rob mclennan during his tenure as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta (2007-8) in January, 2008, now organized/hosted by Edmonton poet Trisia Eddy, editor/publisher of Red Nettle Press;

the name "Factory (West)" refers to the fact that mclennan has been running readings in Ottawa since 1995 that now exist under the title The Factory Reading Series, held regularly(ish) at the Ottawa Art Gallery;

held on the third Tuesday of every month (upstairs) at Cafe Select, upstairs, 8404-109th Street; doors 7pm; readings 7:30pm

the next reading will take place Tusday, June 17th, 2008 with readings by:

Kath MacLean
Heather Simeney MacLeod
Shawna Lemay
+ Rudy Wiebe

Recognized as one of Edmonton’s most eclectic poet-performers, Kath MacLean’s unique muse and creative delivery attract attention wherever she reads. Known for rich images, “breath-taking lyricism” and musicality, her award-winning poetry, prose, and non-fiction is generating critical acclaim across Canada.

MacLean’s first book For a Cappuccino on Bloor was the recipient of the New Muse Award and was short-listed for the Kalamalka Press New Writers Competition. The winner of many literary competitions, including both the Grain Poetry and Non-Fiction Awards in 2005, Prairie Fire poetry award in 2006, and finalist for the Winston Collins Poetry Prize in 2007, her work has appeared in many Canadian literary journals and broadcast on CBC radio.

A strong voice within Edmonton’s thriving arts community, MacLean teaches creative writing at Grant MacEwan College, is a freelance copywriter and editor, and delivers poetry workshops for children in Edmonton.

Heather Simeney MacLeod [see her 12 or 20 questions here] grew up in various regions through out British Columbia. Her first book of poems, My Flesh the Sound of Rain, was published in 1998 by Coteau Books; The Shape of Orion, a chapbook with Smoking Lung Press was released in 2002; The Burden of Snow, a second full collection of poetry with Turnstone Books came out in 2004. Her plays have been produced in Canada and Scotland, and she has received honourable mentions from two contests. Her poetry and fiction have been published in numerous Canadian literary journals and anthologies as well as appearing in reviews and journals in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. She’s currently a doctoral student at the University of Alberta.

Shawna Lemay [see her 12 or 20 questions here] is the author of All the God-Sized Fruit, Against Paradise, Still, and Blue Feast. Her MA thesis (poetry) is Red Velvet Forest. She recently finished a book of essays about living with still life titled, Calm Things, to appear with Palimpsest Press. Inspired by rob mclennan and a few other bloggers, she has started her very own blog called, Capacious Hold-All. She lives in Edmonton with her husband, Rob Lemay (a visual artist) and their daughter, Chloe.

Rudy Wiebe was born on October 4, 1934, in an isolated farm community of about 250 people in a rugged but lovely region near Fairholme, Saskatchewan. His parents had escaped Soviet Russia with five children in 1930, part of the last generation of homesteaders to settle the Canadian West, and part of a Mennonite history of displacement and emigration through Europe and Asia to North and South America since the seventeenth century. In 1947 his family gave up their bush farm and moved to Coaldale, Alberta, a town east of Lethbridge peopled largely by Ukrainians, Mennonites, Mormons, and Central Europeans, as well as Japanese, who ended up there during WW II.

Wiebe is the author of nine novels, four short story collections, and three essay collections on distinctly Canadian subjects ranging from First Nations people to Mennonite settlers, including Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman, co-authored with Yvonne Johnson. He has won many awards, including two Governor General’s Awards, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is the author of the re-released essay collection Playing Dead: A Contemplation Concerning the Arctic, which takes a critical look at the history of the Canadian Arctic, and is currently working on a biography of Big Bear.

info: Trisia Eddy at
further readings: July 15th with Ted Bishop & tba.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

photos from April's Factory (West);

since this reading, I've been in Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary + Banff, so that's why it's taken me so long to post these (and in Grande Prairie in a couple of days, and then Calgary again on Friday! photos courtesy of that lovely, again, Lainna...); in case you've forgot, Jeff Carpenter was nice enough to replace a cancelled Kim Minkus, with further readings by Christine Wiesenthal, Catherine Owen + Myrna Kostash.
Jeff Carpenter, Acting Acting Director of the Alberta Research Group, reading ghazals...
Myrna Kostash being smarter and wiser than everyone else in the room...
Lainna sure likes to take photos of Trisia Eddy, who is taking over the reading series post-May...

The ghost that is (apparently) me, behind a blue Catherine Owen...

Jeff Carpenter post-reading; I won't even tell you if he can actually play guitar...

Information for the May event; previous photos from previous readings here and here and here;

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Factory (West) Reading Series, May 20, 2008

a reading series lovingly hosted by rob mclennan during his tenure as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta (2007-8); the name "Factory (West)" refers to the fact that I have been running readings for years in Ottawa since 1995 that now exist under the title The Factory Reading Series, held regularly(ish) at the Ottawa Art Gallery;

a variety of poetry and fiction (etcetera) presented on the third Tuesday of every month from January to May, 2008 in (upstairs) at Cafe Select, upstairs, 8404-109th Street

doors 7pm; readings 7:30pm

The fourth reading will be happening on Tuesday, May 20

with readings by:

Laura Farina (Banff)
Priscila Uppal (Toronto)
Christopher Doda (Toronto)
+ Alice Major (Edmonton)

Laura Farina's first book of poetry, This Woman Alphabetical, was published by Pedlar Press in 2005. It was nominated for the ReLit Award and won the Archibald Lampman Award. She has sat on the editorial board of Arc: Canada's National Poetry Magazine, taught writing to young people in Ontario and Chicago and given readings of her work across the country. She is currently working on a book of poetry about cities, seasons and nostalgia.

Priscila Uppal [see her 12 or 20 questions here] is a poet and fiction writer born in Ottawa and currently living in Toronto. Among her publications are five collections of poetry: How to Draw Blood From a Stone (1998), Confessions of a Fertility Expert (1999), Pretending to Die (2001), Live Coverage (2003) and Ontological Necessities (2006); all with Exile Editions; and the novel The Divine Economy of Salvation (2002), published to critical acclaim by Doubleday Canada and Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and translated into Dutch and Greek. Her poetry has been translated into Korean, Croatian, Latvian, and Italian, and Ontological Necessities was short-listed for the prestigious Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry. She has a PhD in English Literature and is a professor of Humanities and English at York University.

Christopher Doda [see his 12 or 20 questions here] is a poet and editor living in Toronto. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Among Ruins (2001) and Aesthetics Lesson (2007), both from the Mansfield Press. He is an editor at Exile: The Literary Quarterly and Exile Editions, as well as the Book Review editor for Studio, an online poetry journal.

Alice Major [see her 12 or 20 questions here] has published seven collections of poetry and one novel. She has won the Malahat Review’s long poem contest and been short-listed for the Pat Lowther Award, the City of Edmonton Book Prize (twice) and the Stephan G. Stephanson Award, Writers Guild of Alberta (three times the bridesmaid, never the bride.)She has been president of the Writers Guild of Alberta and of the League of Canadian Poets, and chair of the Edmonton Arts Council. In 2005, she was named the first poet laureate of the City of Edmonton – a city she has made her home since 1981. She grew up in Toronto, took a degree in English at the U of T’s Trinity College, and first came west to work as a newspaper reporter in the central Cariboo region of B.C.Her most recent collection was The Occupied World, from the University of Alberta Press (2006). Her eighth book of poetry, The Office Tower Tales, is newly published by UAP.

further readings: keep watching here for information on June + July events, etc. (as well as the Facebook page for the series), as the reading series is taken over by Edmonton poet/publisher Trisia Eddy!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

some recent rob mclennan adventures; Ottawa, Edmonton, Red Deer...

It's been pretty busy around here lately, what with travel to Ottawa for the weekend, a Factory (West) Reading back in Edmonton, and then a reading the next night in the Red Deer College Library. At least the long weekend is allowing me to breathe...

Ottawa: March 15, 2008; the launch of Ottawa: The Unknown City (Arsenal Pulp Press);
When launching anything, it's best to do it on your birthday (see my birthday post here), so people bring gifts. For some reason, there are no photos (apart from this) of the launch itself, at Nicholas Hoare Books (check out the link to me being interviewed for such, on early-morning Breakfast Television), but lovely Jenn Farr took some photos of some of the after-hijinks. We started at the Earl of Sussex Pub, and ended up at Pubwell's, my very own local.
Lovely Jenn Farr (check her green hair for St. Patrick's Day) and her pal Eliza Von Baeyer, sitting at Pubwell's. I also learned, that day, that the Pope had decreed my birthday the official Feast of St. Patrick, so it wouldn't interfere with Holy Week (just so you know, the "snakes" were, ahem, Protestants, Druids & other "heathens"). Another reason to hate the Irish; bad enough they had the parade on my birthday and refused to acknowledge me. Oh, Irish people, what have I ever done to you?
Max Middle (the one on the right), who turns 38 but three weeks after I do, flipping through my Ottawa: The Unknown City (but paying attention to Jenn Farr)
(photos by Jenn Farr; one by Max Middle)

Edmonton: March 18, 2008; the Factory (West) Reading Series;

Already some have been talking about how much they'll miss this reading series when I leave, the little monthly I started in January (see info on the next reading here); worry not! Trisia Eddy and I have been preparing for her to take over the series, and continue it in June (& beyond).
Calgary author D.M. Bryan (on the right) with her husband; an adorable couple, to be sure.
We aren't sure what NeWest Press' Tiffany Regaudie is staring off at, but here's PEI-resident (& Red Nettle Press co-hort) Patti Sinclair talking to Douglas Barbour (note the Bill Cosby-like sweater).
D.M. Bryan presenting the world premiere of her first book & first novel, Gerbil Mother (NeWest Press).
The lovely bookseller; why didn't I learn her name?
Kristy McKay, looking very cute (as always);
(photos by Lainna)

Red Deer: March 19, 2008; rob at the Red Deer College Library;

I did a reading at the Red Deer College Library, lovingly organized & hosted by my new best friend & Brick Books author, Joan Crate. Even though she handed me the cheque before the reading got started, I stayed & even read to a good group of interested students & non-students alike (despite my attempts to get a few of them, pre-reading, to run off with me).
This is me answering questions; somehow I ended up having to explain to 20-year-olds that, yes, telephones used to have bells in them, & the "party line" had nothing to do with actual parties. Oh, youth. The reading was plenty fun, & we even went out for drinks after; even further, went to a kereoke hotel bar (the kereoke guy sick, so wasn't happening) & managed to close the place. I'm getting to old for this stuff...

(photos by Anne Marie Watson, Red Deer College)

Edmonton: March 22, 2008; rob and Lainna at West Edmonton Mall (part three);
Why do we keep going back to the Maul (see a picture here from our first visit)? I mean, really, why not? It's the most fun anyone can have in a day (at least in Edmonton); although the WEM apparently isn't big enough to have a store inside where one might purchase a pork-pie hat... (if only we were in Beijing!); but still, isn't this photo of the bottles behind the bar at Earl's magnificent? (I posted a pile of WEM photos on facebook today...);
And then there were these things, that shoot water from the front (I want one);

(photos by Lainna)
Oh, what hijinks will I get up to next...?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

12 or 20 questions: with Heather Simeney MacLeod

Biography: Heather Simeney MacLeod grew up in various regions through out British Columbia. Her first book of poems, My Flesh the Sound of Rain, was published in 1998 by Coteau Books; The Shape of Orion, a chapbook with Smoking Lung Press was released in 2002; The Burden of Snow, a second full collection of poetry with Turnstone Books came out in 2004. Her plays have been produced in Canada and Scotland, and she has received honourable mentions from two contests. Her poetry and fiction have been published in numerous Canadian literary journals and anthologies as well as appearing in reviews and journals in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. She’s currently a doctoral student at the University of Alberta.

1. How did your first book change your life?

When Geoffrey Ursell rang me to tell me Coteau Books wanted to publish my first book I was giddy. I had just returned from Turkey and was staying with my family in the Northwest Territories and had a plane ticket to return to Europe. I kept holding up books at random and saying to my brother, “Different name, different title, different cover, but same idea. This will be me.” This still strikes me as hilarious. I worked with my editor, Patrick Lane, from a friend’s flat in Freiburg, Germany. It was a strange feeling to be reworking poems primarily set in Canada, and then to go out onto the canals and cobbled walkways of Freiburg. I returned to Canada for the launch and readings. I think what the first book publication did was indicate to myself that I was, you know, a poet. It said to me: you are a writer.

2. How long have you lived in Alberta, and how does geography, if at all, impact on your writing? Does race or gender make any impact on your work?

I moved here, to Edmonton, this past August. I’ve found, in my own work, that geography and race have had a profound impact. My work is influenced by my physical location. The poems I wrote in and after living in Turkey are infused with silk on silk carpets and apple tea, and the poems and stories I wrote in and after living in Scotland are soaked in rain and dipped in that strange, muted light of Edinburgh. My second collection of poetry consists of a series of hauntings of race, ancestry and geography.

Strangely my plays seem least affected by geography, and the most profoundly affected by gender. When I am writing poems and fiction I don’t think I’m as aware of gender, or it feels as if it is somehow less present. When I am working on plays, though, gender seems omnipresent.

3. Where does a poem usually begin for you? Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a “book” from the very beginning?

I’ve noticed that usually I begin writing from an image, and have noticed that sometimes the image doesn’t even necessarily appear in the final draft. Many of the images, naturally, emerge from my own experiences ―an Appaloosa in a meadow at daybreak, my grandfather’s cowboy boots, the feel of bit and bridle, the hills and valleys of the interior of British Columbia, Saint Sophia covered in mist, Morningside Road after the first snowfall of winter, Saint Cuthbert’s in the sunshine.
My first collection of poetry consisted of short pieces that I ended up combining into a larger project. I found that an awkward sort of thing to do, you know? To try to make sometimes very disparate pieces fit together into a whole. Consequently, after that experience I’ve noticed I tend to work on manuscripts rather than individual pieces. I think of my work as fitting together into a greater whole. It’s important, to me, that each piece stand outside of the whole on its own, and yet that each piece support, weave through the manuscript.

4. Are public readings part of or counter to your creative process?

I think of readings as necessary and as fairly uncomfortable, but don’t find they affect my creative process at all.

5. Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?

Theoretical concerns emerge, but I’m normally concerned about the nuts and bolts aspect of writing initially. You know, the development of character, plot, consistency, believability takes up most of my attention in the beginning stages. It is in subsequent drafts I’ll notice broader theoretical concerns and themes, and it is at that point I will attempt to tune them, to ensure they are operating in a cohesive manner with the rest of the work.
I think within much of my work I am concerned with identity and how to articulate it, and the manner it is disrupted and dislocated.

I’ve noticed within the department (I’m currently enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Alberta) there are numerous theoretical queries going-on, obviously. One of my cohorts is interested in landscape and the ways in which it is manipulated by our intentions as well as the ethics of socio-environmental conflict, which I’ve found (through her discussion) quite interesting. Though, I don’t know if I would go so far as to claim it is a “current question,” but certainly our environment in general is a current concern.

6. Do you find the process of working with an outside editor difficult or essential (or both)?

It depends on the editor. Really depends on how the editor approaches not only me, but also my work. I think the process is vital and as you said essential for the work. It can be, again depending upon the situation, difficult or exciting and invigorating.

7. After having published more than a couple of titles over the years, do you find the process of book-making harder or easier?

I find the writing is about the same. You know, you sit down and you plug away at it. Though I do think in terms of a manuscript ― I don’t allow that to affect the work I’m doing. When writing, I find my attention is pulled directly to the particular piece be it a poem, chapter, or scene. The publishing aspect is as tedious as ever.

8. When was the last time you ate a pear?

It was before Christmas. It wasn’t quite ripe. I like to keep most fruit in the fridge so it was sour and cold. It was a crunchy affair.

9. What is the best piece of advice you've heard (not necessarily given to you directly)?

I was in Seattle several years ago. I’d recently returned to North America from Germany, and I was finding the transition (for a number of personal reasons) very difficult. I was sitting in Fremont with my friend Katy. We were having café au lait and biscuits. I was really concerned with “sorting” my life as if it were something I could whittle down and compartmentalize. I looked up, and down this long hallway written in large letters on a blackboard was: You can’t change your life over night. At that time I was horrified. Could that be true? Remember thinking, “What a nightmare.” I think of it often with fluctuating emotions. Sometimes when I think, “You can’t change your life over night,” I feel vast waves of relief; other times I feel intense irritation. In any event I think it is the best advice I’ve ever stumbled across.

10. How easy has it been for you to move between genres (poetry to writing plays)? What do you see as the appeal?

I naturally move between genres. You know, as a reader I am (obviously) very aware of genre, but as a writer genre somehow sits somewhere else. It isn’t a focus, and genre when I’m writing is barely even a consideration. The image will emerge and it carries with it, I think, genre. I don’t impose the mode of writing, rather I write whatever it wants to be. That sounds strange, I know. I don’t think I’m attracted (for lack of a better word) to one genre over another. As a reader what appeals to me are the genres of fantasy and science fiction neither of which I write.

11. What kind of writing routine do you tend to keep, or do you even have one? How does a typical day (for you) begin?

Honestly, I like to stay in bed and stare at the ceiling. I like to stare at the ceiling a lot. I think of staring at the ceiling as a hobby. In my spare time, yep, I like to stare at the ceiling. When I get tired of staring at the ceiling I like café au lait. I picked up a little milk-froth-maker-thingy from Ikea yesterday. I love it. I love it almost as much as I love staring at the ceiling. That’s the beginning of my day. I like to write every day. I usually break it up into patches in the morning and evening, but that really depends on the overall structure of my day. If I’m working I usually write late-afternoon.

12. When your writing gets stalled, where do you turn or return for (for lack of a better word) inspiration?

I usually don’t panic over being stalled as I normally turn my attention to rewriting, but if the “stall” continues I’ll turn to books ―Karen Solie, Catherine Greenwood, Rebecca Fredrickson, Seamus Heaney, Kathleen Jamie, Jeanette Winterson, Tim Winton, Cormac McCarthy to name a few.

13. How does your most recent book compare to your previous work? How does it feel different?

There was a six year gap between my two collections of poetry. My Flesh the Sound of Rain comes from this melting of experiences ―an undergrad experience at the University of Victoria, a transitory kind of migratory living between Victoria and Yellowknife as well as a series of long, intense travels to Britain and Europe. The second collection, The Burden of Snow, is not as varied nor as tumultuous. Rather, it is (not unlike my life at the time) centred and solid with guided curiousity. The second book feels far different than the first. It feels much softer and yet more solid.

14. David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art?

I like the paintings of Christopher Wood, Gertrude Degenhardt, Robert Genn, Eadain Hunter as well I am often inspired by the photos and paintings of friends such as Deborah Rossouw, Justin Thomas, Greg McBrady, Pat Kichen, Kristy Lewis, Katy Ellis and the travel photographs by Genevieve Lacourciere. The music of Rilo Kiley, Devendra Banhart, Sia, Gillian Welch, and Johnny Cash inspires me.

15. What other writers or writings are important for your work, or simply your life outside of your work?

I’m sometimes influenced by non-fiction work. Books on trains, the journey of the turtle; sometimes I’m influenced by a series of words for example all the names there are for the different formations of clouds; geography endlessly pulls at me for, I think I may have inherited this from my mother, I believe it offers an endless route away from myself. This isn’t true.
A few friends have been inspirational through their letters, conversations, their photographs. The writer Rebecca Fredrickson has often, through her own work and through our conversations, influenced my own writing. The personal writings and photographs from Mary Finlay-Doney have been inspirational. Of course, the writing and photographs of Katy E. Ellis Jr. have inspired and influenced my writing.

16. What would you like to do that you haven't yet done?

I haven’t traveled into Asia. I’d like to see the rice paddies, saffron-robed monks, buddhas that defy description. I’d like to stand amid parrots in Central America, camp amid Mayan and Aztec ruins (can you do that?). I’d like to go to Easter Island. I’d like to go St. Petersburg and Moscow. My friend, Indio, tells me Buenos Aires has more neon lights than any city has a right too. I want to see that. Oh, what about Peru? I’d like to snorkel, surf ―I’m a bad swimmer (really) and I’m a wee bit afraid of the water (really). Publish a novel, a collection of short stories. Have dinner with Stephen King? Maybe I’m getting a bit carried away here, whatdaya think rob?

17. If you could pick any other occupation to attempt, what would it be? Or, alternately, what do you think you would have ended up doing had you not been a writer?

I don’t know. If I could pick another occupation maybe architectural design something where the beautiful would be functional, and if I weren’t a writer I’d probably have ended up in photography, or maybe pottery.

18. What made you write, as opposed to doing something else?

Again, I really don’t know. I like writing because, of course, I like the sounds of words. I make lists of words: chesterfield, elbow, appaloosa, palomino, bit and bridle. I’m also very attracted to lines in films and television. When McCoy says to Kirk, “Good God Jim, I’m a doctor not a bricklayer.” I try to fit that into as many conversations as I can. There’s a line from Glengarry Glen Ross that has been rippling over the tv screen lately (advertisement for the movie upcoming on some channel or another), “You see this watch? This watch cost more than your car.” Every time I hear it I smile. It cracks me up. I love many lines from Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as the last sentiments on her gravestone: She Saved the World. A lot.

19. What was the last great book you read? What was the last great film?

I’m a fan of Wes Anderson and saw his film The Darjeeling Ltd. just before Christmas. I’m currently reading Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill, and think it incorporates many of the elements I would like to see emerge in my own work. An ease with language, for example, as well O’Neill’s sense of place is loose and yet exact.

20. What are you currently working on?

Mostly, as I am a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta, I’m working on homework. I’m in a class of Christine Wiesenthal’s [see her 12 or 20 questions here] and have been trying my hand at creative non-fiction. When time permits I’m rewriting a novel and working on a series of short fiction.