Monday, August 31, 2009

Reprint: 12 or 20 Questions

Hey all, I'm featured today on rob mclennan's blog as a part of his 12 or 20 Questions series.

As with all my off-page (i.e. writing life versus writing) endeavors, I'm mostly trying not to embarrass myself...

Here's an excerpt:

6 – 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?

Why are such different roles and different expectations assigned to men and women, especially around parenting? Why is being an absent parent so gendered? What does it mean that writing about absent parents means absenting myself, at least to some degree, from my daughter’s life?

7 – What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?

I’m going to loosely paraphrase a section from Rutting Season, a recent poetry + conversation anthology from Montreal’s Buffalo Runs Press that I’m in by saying that I believe that poets and other writers present people with ways of being and feeling in the world, with choices, with conversation. And I’m all for conversation, even if it’s a limited and stuttering conversation, with many uncomfortable silences. I also believe that as writers we tell ourselves stories as much as we tell other people stories. That that comfort is there for us as writers, even if the material itself isn't comforting…

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

I’m just about to start editing my first full collection and have to say that working with an editor is the part of the process I’m most looking forward to…

Basically, I see the manuscript as a drum and I’m so looking forward to having someone pick it up and give it a good goddamn bang. I want to see what falls out, but most of all, I want to see how it sounds to someone whose ear I trust.

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

I hate advice, but my favourite northern mining-town gothic poet (i.e. Brenda Schmidt) keeps giving it. The most simple and direct and therefore the most effective so far has been: “Good grief! Get to work!”

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