On Writing

May Guest Writer: Erin Knight on Open Book Ontario

(photo credit: Clelia Scala)

I’m happy to tell you that I’ve had the extreme pleasure of connecting with Erin Knight from Open Book Ontario. Never heard of it! Don’t fret, my friends! I’ve only just discovered this amazing literary site myself, and as always, I’m quick to share!

Erin interviewed me about Whisky Sour City, the new poetry anthology published by Black Moss Press last month, and the project in which I was honoured to take on the role of Guest Editor. Check out the interview here – but only after you read the interview I gave her, okay!

Please enjoy my interview with the fabulous Erin Knight – poet, mother, Open Book Ontario(OBO) contributor!

1) Tell me a bit about your personal writing life.

My second book of poetry, Chaser, was published last spring with House of Anansi Press. My first book, The Sweet Fuels, was published by Goose Lane Editions in 2007.

2) When/how did you become involved with OBO?

I’ve been involved with OBO since it launched in September 2009. Our sister site, Open Book: Toronto was branching out to reach the rest of the province, and I happened to be looking for editing work in the right place at the right time.

3) Do you do most of your work at a computer – or do you get a chance to represent OBO in person at literary events?

Most of my OBO work is done at the computer and my interactions with the writers we represent are conducted over email or by telephone. But there are lots of opportunities to attend readings, literary festivals and conferences.

4) What is your favourite thing about OBO? Why?

I love that we represent writers whose work is published by small presses and micro presses with as much enthusiasm as we represent those from the larger houses. The major newspapers might all be reviewing the same three books in the same weekend, but we promote as diverse a group of writers as you’ll find anywhere. I also love learning about the thriving literary communities that exist all across the province. There’s so much going on, and it’s not necessarily always in Toronto.

5) How can writers become involved with OBO? Why should they?
We publish a variety of different styles of author interviews, and we also post guest blogs and a column called “Readers Write.” It’s a great opportunity to publicize a new book, an award nomination, a reading or a launch. Writers can contact me at erin@openbookontario.com for more details.

6) In your opinion, if you could use a metaphor to describe Ontario’s literary world/scene – what would it be?

How about a field of spring peepers? So many beautiful voices.

7) Who is your favourite author? Why?

I have all kinds of favourite authors. Two of my favourite poets are Erin Moure and Don Domanski. They’re two very different writers–Erin is more experimental, Don is more lyrical, but they both do mad things with language and their writing captivates me. Erin was Writer in Residence at UNB when I was working on my MA there, and she was completely committed to sharing her love of language(s) and poetry with us students and the community. I really admire that.

8) Paper book or e-book? What’s your choice? Why?

I’m pretty in love with reading a paper book. I feel like the experience is completely different. Also I spend a lot of time staring at a screen during the day, so I don’t exactly want to snuggle in with another in the evening. But my Kobo made me a much more contented mother during the first year of my daughter’s life. Much easier to nurse and read on one of those (especially if the baby wakes up when you turn pages).

9) Do you have a family? Partner? Kids? A rich ‘friends’ life? How you do you balance work and play?

I’m lucky to share my life with another writer, the incredibly talented Adam Dickinson. His third book of poetry, The Polymers, was published with Anansi this spring. We have a 21-month old daughter who flies us to the moon and back every day, and a great community of friends here in St. Catharines. As for balancing work and play…well, I just wish I had a 30 hour day. That might be enough time.

10) What is your favourite genre to read? Why?

I love poetry and I read a lot of it when I’m writing it. But novels are my favourite thing to read, and I’m never without one. I think I just love getting lost in a story.

11) Top 5 writing blogs.
Obscure CanLit Mama (Carrie Snyder): http://carrieannesnyder.blogspot.ca/
Writer in Residence (Lisa Martin DeMoor): http://www.writerinresidence.ca/
Henrietta and Me (Anita Lahey) http://anitalahey.wordpress.com/
Canadian Poetries (Shawna Lemay) http://www.canadianpoetries.com/
And of course, OBO!

Thank you, Erin!

As always, there’s a FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!!

The first person to comment with his/her two favourite books of poetry will win a copy of Erin’s book of poetry, Chaser!!


5 thoughts on “May Guest Writer: Erin Knight on Open Book Ontario

  1. Although, I admit I feel guilty about picking two, because there are so many others that I love but didn’t make the pick for one reason or another 🙂


  2. Wow. Thanks a lot, Vanessa! My mailing address is the same.

    Erin’s book looks intriguing..As a person who survived a tumor & the subsequent operation some years back, I’m looking forward to exploring it!

    Having won two of these contests now, I will make not enter the running for any of your subsequent contests. I will however, when I can, answer the questions when after the winner has been already determined 🙂


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