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Q&A with poet Robin Richardson

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“The truth, and the vulnerability of sharing it, is liberation.


Robin Richardson is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, and is Editor-in-Chief atMinola Review, a Journal of Women’s Arts & LettersHer work has been shortlisted for the Walrus Poetry Prize, CBC Poetry Award, Lemon Hound Poetry Prize, and ReLit Award and has won the John B. Santorini Award and the Joan T. Baldwin Award. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals including POETRY, Tin House, Arc, The North American Review, and Hazlitt of Random House. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and BA in Design from OCAD University. Richardson’s latest collection, Sit How You Want, is forthcoming with Véhicule Press. She is represented by Samantha Haywood at Transatlantic Agency, who is working with her debut memoir this year. 
A couple of weeks ago, Robin Richardson featured at the Art Bar Poetry Series. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, and the audience, full of young and…

Mad Men-esque — A Dark Look at Hollywood Filmmaking

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In this Hollywood, art is all "lies, connivance and darkness." 
Scrolling through the books on Biblioasis' websiteThe Camera Always Lies, a novel by Hugh Hood, caught my eye. It's described as a story about "Hollywood politics and one woman’s struggle to survive them." I was intrigued, not only by the promise of an insider's view, but to boot, the main character is a woman. Sold. (Not to mention Hugh Hood's bio, which in itself is impressive.) I read the novel over two evenings and thoroughly enjoyed it. 
Set in 1966-67, this is a very dark look at Hollywood filmmaking. Love and Art are all but extinguished in this Holly-land. The greed, lust and misogyny are palpable. Hugh Hood strikes the right balance by injecting humour into the mix. Even the truly "bad guys" are funny. And the overall statement Hood is making about art versus commercialism/careerism elevates the whole thing. 
At the beginning of the novel, it appears that this is goin…

In Conversation with Poet Sonia Di Placido

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“I found myself in an Akashic Wood.” 

Sonia Di Placido's poems, essays, and other writings have appeared in blogs, literary print and online journals such asThe Toronto Quarterly,Carousel,The Puritan,The White Wall Review38,Jacket2, The California Journal of Women Writers, and the Canthius Journal. Two anthologies worthy of mention:Walk Myself Home, An Anthology of Violence Against Women(Caitlin Press), andThe Poet to Poet Anthology (Guernica Editions). Sonia’s first full-length collection of poetry,Exaltation in Cadmium Red, launched in 2012 with Guernica Editions. Her second book of poems with Guernica Editions is forthcoming in 2018. Sonia's also currently working on an epistolary series about poetry and writing. 
Sonia's latest chapbook, The Akashic Woodwas published this past spring by LyricalMyrical Press. The opening quote by Emily Dickinson (from the poem “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun”) sets the fiery and dangerous tone for this collection. This is not going t…

Q&A with poet Michael Fraser

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I didn’t have to challenge myself. Numerous challenges emerged on their own.


BIOGRAPHICAL INFO: Michael Fraser has been published in numerous national and international anthologies and journals including:Paris Atlantic,Arc, CV2, andThe Caribbean Writer. He wonARC’s Reader’s Choice award for 2012, and was included in the Best Canadian Poetry in English 2013. He wonFreeFall’s 2014 and 2015 Poetry Contests. His latest book isTo Greet Yourself Arriving (Tightrope Books). He is the creator and former director of the Plasticine Poetry Series. 
Michael’s second collection of poetryTo Greet Yourself Arrivingwas recently published by Tightrope Books. As the title suggests, this collection explores self-awareness, fragmented selves, and the best self. Some of the poems are portraits of people who have accomplished rare achievements, such as Bob Marley, Joe Frazier, Maya Angelou and Barack Obama. With each poem, the reader is immersed in rich imagery and surprising metaphors. To Greet Yourself A…

Editing Session Revealed…

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Poetry editing is such a huge topic that I’ve been procrastinating writing about it. Where to begin? What to cover? Well, let’s start with a poem I’m editing that has some ants in it.
Editing Session to Figure Out What to Do with the Ants: Usually, when I come across a poem that includes ants, I think, oh no, not ants again. The writer was sitting in the grass and saw ants and had nothing else to write about, so the ants got in there. Plus, ants are such a cliché — we're like them: small, exposed to all kinds of twisted fates.
Find Poems that Cover Your Subject Matter What I like about the poem —Failing in the Presence of Ants— is that it does the unexpected — it reveres the ants — not to mention it’s just well written — and if something’s working, whether it’s about ants or not, it doesn’t really matter — all is forgiven. Finding poems that cover your subject matter is a good way to see how other poets are handling what you find difficult.
Do Your Research Okay, so I’m trying to po…

Poetry and Patience

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I spent every day over the winter holidays working on my poetry manuscript. I made some progress, but nowhere near as much as I thought. Turns out this next collection is proving to be a lot more work than I imagined. I've been working on it now, on and off, for four years.

Why is it taking longer? I'm not so sure, but I'm choosing to take it as a good sign. This book has a life of its own, and I'm just trying to give it what it needs. Turns out, it needs a lot. I hope it's ready to send out soon though, maybe come the Spring.

This weekend was entirely devoted to poetry, and once again, I've only moved a wee bit forward. And so it goes...

Carving Out Creative Time at Christmas

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It's almost the holidays and I'm on the threshold of that crucial pre-Christmas time where anything and everything feels possible. The world is all shiny and pretty (okay it is very dull and grey out there, but still) and in a few short days I'll have nothing but a beautiful holiday gleaming in front of me – a whole two weeks off. But what usually happens to all this time? The days just go poof and disappear. How can two weeks disappear into thin air? This year I'm determined not to let the days go by without carving out some creative time. So I need a plan, a simple plan, not too ambitious or too daunting. I need doable. And I need it to be fun. These are my holidays!

Reading poetry every night is a great way to stay inspired. I have one writing workshop planned – just to keep me focused, and every night from 7-9 p.m. I'm going to be doing poetry-related work – whether editing or sending off poems to magazines. (Exceptions: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Ye…