On Writing

Intimacy #NPM22 & Menard & Carter Part II

#NPM22 Intimacy Poem A Day

The Intimacy of Asparagus

…the slight bitter of your
green tree-trunk body…

…soaked in golden butter &
nestled among plump rice
szechuan brown syrup –
the heat of hunger & devouring…

…you greet me later
in streams of release
phallic phantom
pungently preaching
a gospel of remembering…


Guest Post Interviews – Part II – With Christopher Lawrence Menard & Terry Ann Carter

Christopher with his father, Tom.
Q & A with Christopher Lawrence Menard – Part II

6) What is your biggest hope for this book? What is your biggest fear (if you have one)? 

My biggest hope for this book is that it will remind people to hold fast to love, family, everything that matters most. That it will lift some folks who need lifting. That it’ll speak to people, to families, who have faced down or are facing down Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, COPD – these diseases that steal our memories, our bodies, our breath. That it’ll speak to people who are looking for the spot they fit, and to people who are building their tribes… to people considering adoption, who might be wondering what it’s like to create family in such a special way. That it’ll bring some catharsis to my own family – my mother, my siblings – as they navigate their grief over the loss of our father. There are so many stories they’re all carrying around. I hope this inspires them to put some of them down on paper, to share some of them out loud, even if it’s just with each other. That it might inspire some folks to donate to the Alzheimer Society of Windsor and Essex County – to help bring relief and support to families like mine when they need it most.

…to people considering adoption, who might be wondering what it’s like to create family in such a special way.

I suppose my biggest hopes for this book, if I’m being honest, is that it stands as a tribute to my father and his legacy of family and love, that it really captures who and what he was and is to me, and that it stands as a snapshot of the earliest days of my son’s life with us. So that maybe a part of them remains in this world, always, somehow? As for fears… I have a fear that the collection will cause more pain for my family, for my mother. That it might reopen some wounds not even remotely healed. That the grief is still too new, too fresh. That’s a real fear. My biggest fear is that it does none of those things. That no one really resonates with it, or connects to it. It’s a silly fear, I know that. The publisher says it’s important work. The students feel connected to it, drawn in, and they’ve been working with these poems for well over eight months. I know this will have an impact. I know this will have a life. But like with most art, once it’s out there in the world, artists have so little control over its life and its legacy. We just want it to matter, and I think we spend a fair amount of time worrying that it won’t. I know I do. That’s the biggest fear, I think. That it won’t… matter.     

I know this will have an impact. I know this will have a life. But like with most art, once it’s out there in the world, artists have so little control over its life and its legacy.

7) Do you think you’ll continue to write poetry and try to get it published?  

Yes, absolutely. I have loved this experience, from the imagining and dreaming of the poems, to the catharsis and creative energy and jolt of the writing, to being part of this incredible process of watching the words become a story… become a manuscript… become a book… become significant… take up space in the world. People reading it, so far, are connecting with it in really meaningful, important ways. I’ve felt a unique freedom in the writing of this book. I’ve learned things about myself and my own life that I didn’t know before. I’ve tapped into resiliency and vulnerability I didn’t think I had, nor that I was at peace with showing and sharing. I can’t imagine not doing this again.   

I’ve felt a unique freedom in the writing of this book. I’ve learned things about myself and my own life that I didn’t know before.

8) What book(s) are you currently reading? 

I’ve just finished Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and am thinking of diving into The Testaments. I’m reading poetry, and looking forward to opening up Terry Ann Carter’s First I Fold The Mountain. I’m eager to read the words and see the presentation of them in the book that has been the companion to my book as part of this process with the publisher. I’ve got a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel on my Kobo, waiting for me to take a Sci-Fi break and let my imagination have some fun with stories and characters I’ve loved for as long as I can remember. I’m also considering a revisit of Stephen King’s IT – a book I’ve loved since I was a teenager feeling like I was in my own version of ‘The Loser’s Club’.  

Christopher’s reading chair.

9) If you could go on a walk with any writer (living or deceased), where would you walk and what would you talk about?  

No question – Stephen King. I’d want to walk with him through Maine and have him point out the places that have inspired his stories. His mind fascinates me. His writing makes me feel alive. His stories captivate me more often than they terrify me. His characters matter to me. I think about them, about their lives. I’d love to walk with him, and sit down for coffee. I’d love to tell him how his stories have lifted me up when I felt like I couldn’t stand, and how they’ve pulled me through some of my darkest times. I’d want to ask him which stories mean the most to him, which characters, and why. I’d want to thank him. I’d want to tell him how much it has mattered, and to how many. He doesn’t need me to tell him any of that. But man, it would be nice to.  

…Stephen King…I’d want to ask him which stories mean the most to him, which characters, and why. I’d want to thank him.

If there’s any other thing you want to write about/say, please add it. 

I just want to thank YOU, Vanessa, for the incredible amount of time and effort and care you put into this blog and into highlighting and providing a platform to so many writers in Windsor and Essex County, and beyond its borders. You’ve got this amazing sense of what is possible through real ‘community’, and you’re constantly finding ways to build up the people around you. I often think I don’t deserve what you give, consistently, to our friendship. I’m grateful for it. I’m grateful for you. And, as I said in the acknowledgments section of my book… you were a huge part of it all for me. You read the poems, the words, long before most did. You understood the grief behind, beneath, and around them. You excavated alongside me to get to the heart of the poems in the collection. You lent your strength when mine slipped. And… you wrote thimbles, which in many ways helped me understand that it was possible and important to tell the sort of story I wanted to tell, and to use the types of poems I’ve written to do it. You modelled bravery by writing things that matter. Thank you. 

(Oof! Thank you, dear friend!)

PURCHASE at the end, beginnings!

CLICK HERE!

Q & A with Terry Ann Carter Part II

6) What is your favourite part of live readings and literary/art events? 

The best part of literary readings/events is seeing close friends…hearing feedback and news about upcoming projects for other writers. I’m always so interested in what my writer friends are up to. Often I meet “new” people at a reading…this is also fun!

7) In your newest book, ‘First I Fold the Mountain’, love is a strong theme. Do you think it’s part of a poet’s/writer’s job to write about love? Why or why not?

I think it’s a writer/poet ‘s job to tackle all the elephants in the room. Love is a universal feeling…by adding our “take” on this subject, we widen the lens for viewing. I think that all good writing, and especially good poetry connects us to feeling more human. 

Love is a universal feeling…by adding our “take” on this subject, we widen the lens for viewing.

8) On your website, you share with readers that the following haiku inspired the writing/work in ‘First I Fold the Mountain’:

book maker
first I fold the mountain
then the valley

Can you talk about using ‘other’ writing to inspire/engage your own creative process? Do you do this often in your writing process?

Yes, that haiku is mine, and on my acknowledgements page I mention that it was published in the Literary review of Canada (winter 2017). This felt a bit like getting a poem into the new Yorker!

…about using other writing to inspire my writing….this is especially so in two different “sections” of First I Fold the Mountain. 

I am quite inspired by the artist work of dada poet/artist/ Kurt Schwitters who lived in Germany before the Second World War. The more I discovered about him the more inspired I became. He was quite an abstract collage artist and I designed several hanging books dedicated to him. His thesis was to use discarded materials in his art, and so I chose an old paint cloth that was in the garage for my canvas. I tore it into four long pieces that I could then collage materials on. The poems in the book are composed in a “dadesque” style.

I chose an old paint cloth that was in the garage for my canvas. I tore it into four long pieces that I could then collage materials on.

In another section I am quite inspired by the wonderful work of tanka poet Ono no Komachi who lived in Japan around the time of the Heian court. My tanka are written in her voice and assembled in a “scroll book” ….very common at this time.

9)  Do you get nervous/worried/emotional before a book release/launch? 

I am always nervous and anxious before a launch…I don’t really know why…I just am.

10) How have you been navigating your writing life during the pandemic? Are you part of a writer’s group? Do you attend virtual events/readings?

I’ve been navigating these covid times by joining in on zoom launches and zoom get togethers with other writers. Although it is not the same as “the real thing” it has allowed me to be “present” for book launches across the country…events that I otherwise would not have been able to attend.

…And the larger one dreams of salons
plum brandy and writers.
The smaller one imagines
Hash brownies…

from ‘In Honour of my Trip to Paris’, First I Fold the Mountain, Terry Ann Carter

Purchase First I Fold The Mountain!

CLICK HERE!

*Excerpt from Tearing Down the Papers Just Before Summer (After Malachi Black). Artwork created by the students in the practicum.


LIVE BOOK LAUNCH DETAILS & SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTIONS!

Link to register for Wednesday, April 6th event: (8pm to 10pm)

LOCATION: KordaZone Theatre

KordaZone Theater
2520 Seminole Street
Windsor, ON N8Y 1X4
STREET PARKING AVAILABLE

EVENTBRITE LINK HERE

“at the end, beginnings” social media info:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/atthendbeginnings
Instagram: @at_the_end_beginnings
Twitter: @attheendbegin

“First I Fold The Mountain: A Love Letter to Books” social media info:

Facebook: @foldthemountain
Instagram: @firstifoldthemountain
Twitter: @foldthemountain

BOOKS WILL BE FOR SIGNING & SALE!


THANK YOU CHRISTOPHER & TERRY ANN!

It has ben an honour to know and love you more deeply as poets, writers, extraordinary humans! Congratulations on your beautiful new book babies birthing into the world this upcoming week!

Thank you to the students in the Editing & Publishing Practicum and the Black Moss Press family! What fine literature you’ve helped bring into the world! #lovelocal #supportlocal #teamwork

2 thoughts on “Intimacy #NPM22 & Menard & Carter Part II

  1. Vanessa, your interview with Christopher was amazing and you asked some really great questions. I was so proud and loved his honest and genuine Christopher answers.I know how much your input means to him always. He treasures you and always has.🥰♥️🥰

    Like

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