Questin Mills-Fenn did a profile of me last week for Uptown - Winnipeg's Online Source for Arts, Entertainment & News.
It's a weekly paper of long standing in Winnipeg and I'm pretty happy to be featured, even if he caught me when I apparently was all swear-y and inappropriate.
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Meet Manitoba’s most promising writer
Manitoba Book Award winner Ariel Gordon launches Hump, a collection of poems about pregnancy and motherhood
By Quentin Mills-Fenn
Winnipeg is having an early spring, patio season is gearing up, and Ariel Gordon is having a great time. On Sunday, she won the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer at the Manitoba Book Awards. Next week, the poet, already the author of two chapbook collections, launches her first book.
Gordon says the win was “totally unexpected. I did not think I would win.”
Gordon calls her new book a collection of poems about pregnancy and motherhood mashed up with others focussed on Winnipeg’s urban treasure trails. It’s called Hump (Palimpsest Press).
“The year I had my daughter,” Gordon says, “I had maternity leave, and for some reason, people said, ‘You’ll never write again. You won’t write for 10 years.’ That really upset me. So it was really important to me to keep writing.
“After all,” she adds, “I spent more time working on my writing than I did getting pregnant.”
So, Gordon’s mother looked after baby until nursing time while the poet multi-tasked.
“You spend a lot of time sitting, when you’re breastfeeding,” she says.
Although the core of the book speaks to mothering and pregnancy, the collection incorporates some poetic rambles in places such as La Barriere Park and the Assiniboine Forest, locales Gordon carefully names.
“I could have written those poems without naming names,” she says. “But I wanted the book to be not only love poems for my partner and my child, but also for Winnipeg."
“I have a complete hard-on for Assiniboine Forest,” she adds. “It’s a park on land that’s never been built-on or developed. And it’s right in the city.”
Hump is gentle and sly, but also as sharp as baby teeth and poison mushrooms. And it’s called Hump.
“I find the title funny,” Gordon laughs. “I’m aware the word has all sorts of connotations. People have this perspective that poetry has to be so serious. I wanted to screw with that idea..."
"It does mean that I’ll be the most-googled poet for perverts.”
Ariel Gordon launches Hump at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5 at McNally Robinson Booksellers.
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In addition to Ariel Gordon, other winners at the Manitoba Book Awards include Jan Horner, winner of the Aqua Books/Lansdowne Poetry Prize for Mama Dada, Michael Nathanson, who picked up the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book for his play Talk, and Deborah Schnitzer, who snatched the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction with her novel, an unexpected break in the weather. The biggest prize, McNally Robinson Book of the Year, went to Coming of Age: A History of the Jewish People of Manitoba by Allan Levine. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.