P. C.: What is your favourite word?
K. S.: My favourite word changes from day to
day. I'll be reading when a word is suddenly high-lighted by a little extra
white. I jot it down and then try to use it in a poem. My least favourite word
is "standardization." It's overstayed its welcome and has haunted me
by randomly coming to mind over the past four years. Perhaps a word exorcism is
in order although I wouldn't know who to call for the proceedings. (a
P . C.: What is a poem you might carry in your pocket?
K. S.: Rilke's Archaic Torso of Apollo. From
start to finish it's strange and powerful. It ends "for here there is no
place / that does not see you. You must change your life."
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to
gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.
Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:
would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your
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P. C.: What do you always carry in your pocket?
K. S.: Like millions I always have my iPhone in my pocket. I've
found it tremendously helpful for writing poetry. Wherever I am, I can stop and
take down lines for the start of a new poem or create something to be grafted
onto something I've been working on for a while.
P.C.: If you are looking for inspiration in
Vancouver where will you go?
K. S.: I'll walk. I'll walk in any old
direction my feet take me. I sometimes bring a book and read which surprises
people but its not too hard to keep a little attention out on the periphery
while you read a book of poems. I've been reading Sandra Ridley, Paul Tyler and
Don McKay the past couple of days. You read somebody who's attuned to their
world and when you look up from the page, you're bound to be inspired by
P. C.: What is one thing you will not eat?
K. S.: I love all food. It did, however, take
me twenty years to learn to love olives. I travelled through Europe when I was
twenty years old, but in Greece I could not get into olives. I felt like a
cretan and yet I knew I was missing out on something spectacular. Whenever I
got a chance I'd take a small bite, make a face and spit it out. Last month, I
was enjoying some black olives while making dinner, when the unlikeliness of
this situation suddenly struck me. I don't know how it happened. There was no
gradual incline towards liking them a little more bit by bit. I hated them last
year and now I love them. Perhaps, life has gotten so busy that I no longer
have time to dislike things. Maybe all this poetry has helped me see and eat
P. C.: If you were not a writer what would
you be doing instead?
K. S.: Acting in plays where I'm a
P. C.: If there was a song about your life, what
would the title be?
K. S.: I don't know but I'd like to think that
it would be sung by Weird Al Yankovic doing a Leonard Cohen cover of Metallica.
P. C.: What keeps you awake at night?
K. S.: That song I imagined of Weird Al
Yankovic doing a Leonard Cohen cover of Metallica.
P. C.: What is your motto?
K. S.: Ad utrumque paratus - prepared for
either alternative. If I get excited about a possibility, (winning a literary
contest, getting some book acceptance) I imagine it in its most glorious
version possible and then immediately imagine it again with the worst possible
outcome which is not exactly what Virgil had in mind when he wrote that, but
the sentiment is there: be open and ready to the possibilities.
P. C.: What are you currently working on?
S.: I have two chapbooks coming out this Fall through the Alfred Gustav Press
and the serif of nottingham, but I'm hoping to make it a hat-trick. I'm working
on a couple other small collections which I'll be sending out in the hopes that
they'll be accepted by a couple other presses I adore. My goal is to do a
chapbook tour of Canada next May to promote small presses across Canada. It
makes sense that many people may not know about these local poetry scenes
because they are so highly individualized. By definition there can't be a CNN
or CBC for these scenes as each speaks in such a specific idiom. Having said
that, there might be unique ways to raise awareness about the literary
communities across the country. Perhaps a one hundred venue tour across the
country that celebrate the local. Bruno Saskatchewan here I come!