Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

TTQ'S Toronto Poets 5 Questions Series: Nathaniel G. Moore

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TTQ'S Toronto Poets 5 Questions Series: Nathaniel G. Moore

Interviewed by Darryl Salach (The Toronto Quarterly)

The Toronto Poets - 5 Questions Series is a new series initiated by The Toronto Quarterly that is geared to providing the talented poets living and writing in the city of Toronto with a bit of a broader platform in which to explain who they are as poets and what they're writing about these days. The hope is to provide this information to not only lovers of poetry residing in the city but to the casual reader of poetry who might not be aware of some of the names being featured in the five questions series. Ultimately, the hope of this series is to inform Torontonians that poetry is indeed vibrant, alive and kicking ass in our city.

Nathaniel G. Moore is a Toronto writer and editor. Most recently, he's been writing outside of the arena of fiction and poetry. He has written for Bravo!Fact in 2007 and 2009, has done some fashion writing and worked on his own blog called Critical Crushes. He is the author of two poetry collections, the humour book Bowlbrawl (Conundrum Press, 2005) and the novel Wrong Bar (Tightrope Books, 2009), and they can both be purchased along with a year's subscription to Broken Pencil for a mere $40 (see Broken Pencil's website for more details). He has written for Broken Pencil since 2000 and in 2008 became assistant editor. In 2007 he wrote the Globe & Mail review for professional wrestler Bret "Hitman" Hart's biography entitled Hitman. He has participated in This Is Not A Reading Series on three occasions, had a cameo in the Tony Burgess and Derek McCormack musical Die Scream Die! (Scream Festival 2009), worked at Indigo Books and Music, interned at Quill & Quire and read at the Ottawa International Writers Festival in 2008. He was the features editor of Danforth Review from 2004-2009, co-edited Toronto Noir (Akashic Books, 2008), and was thrown through a table in Ottawa by poet-rob mclennan in June of that year as part of a literary event put on by The Puritan. He finally got published in Taddle Creek magazine, and has work forthcoming in another great literary magazine on the other side of the country.

TTQ- Congratulations to you on having recently published your third book, a novel entitled, Wrong Bar, through Tightrope Books. You started out doing performance poetry with the likes of David McGimpsey and Jon Paul Fiorentino. Is poetry still as important to you these days and do you still write a lot of it and perform your poems at live readings?

NGM- In 2000 I produced a spoken word CD called Unheard Of… and did a lot of spoken word type performances, or slams. Spoken word itself as a medium was really big in the late 1990s, particularly in Montreal. I moved to Montreal in 2002 for a while and before moving back to Toronto in 2004, met most of the small press figures in the city who were starting to step away from “performance poetry” and were working on actual writing. The poets you mentioned are not what I classify as performance poets, but are both great readers and poets. To answer your question: poetry is not as important to me as it once was. I think I've been exposed to too much poetry over the last ten years and as a books editor for a magazine, receive approximately three books of poetry per month, and these books tend to pile up and then I feel guilty for not reviewing all of them, when it's really not my fault. Some poetry is quite amazing and great, but as you can imagine, some books just get published because of block grants and bad editorial decisions, insider trading, etc. I also hate poet's bios, they are so ridiculously long and always mention the exact same journals and magazines over and over again. I was at a reading recently and the bio reading was just as long as the poet's actual reading. Ben Hur had less detail.

TTQ- Tell us about Wrong Bar. What inspired you to write this book and what's the public reaction to the novel been like?

NGM- I wanted to write a novel as a reaction to the continuous violence in teenagers that seems prevalent in our culture today. Social network tools seem to make it easier to kill each other, and I wanted to write about a group of teens who were all plotting against one another. The book has received some positive reviews so far. I really like the cover. People have taken it out of the libraries in Toronto, so that’s good as well.

TTQ- What's your opinion on the current state of literary journals in Canada? Do you anticipate many will soon become extinct due to cutbacks in government funding and/or is that a bad thing?

NGM- Journals will always thrive and die, it’s part of the business. It seems these days if you don’t produce enough you get cut, but then if you produce enough to avoid these cuts you might go bankrupt doing so. It’s been talked about to death by the industry, I think it’s pretty clear what the government values in terms of magazines and journals here in Canada. Elle Magazine gets a lot of money from the government don’t they? We need Elle Magazine in Canada it seems more than Querty.

TTQ- What's your relationship been like with the folks at Tightrope Books? According to publisher-Halli Villegas, Tightrope prides itself on introducing readers to new writers who are out there, writers who have a "schizophrenic sensibility." Would that be an apt description of your sensibilities?

NGM- I like Tightrope Books, working with them on Wrong Bar has been fine. I think for this book in particular there is a "schizophrenic sensibility" to it, though I’m trying to become less confused and deranged as the years go on. I get a lot of press it seems for being a performer, yet here we are halfway through 2010 and I have done zero readings in Toronto. Mostly I just show up and nod at readings and the community seems to be okay with that.

TTQ- What's next for you? Is there another book in the works or another project you're currently involved with you would like to let folks know about?

NGM- I have a second poetry book out with DC Books which no one knows about. I could tell you that's it's already been launched, and that I've read from it at least once. It’s called Pastels Are Pretty Much The Polar Opposite of Chalk and has a great poem in it about Emily Haines. It's very important that she reads this poem as it's quite good and would make an excellent short film starring her. It was edited by Montreal poet Jason Camlot. The whole book was, not just Emily. I am working on a new book called Savage. Chapters of this book have appeared or will appear in the country’s best lit-mags. I expect to be finished this book in 2015.

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This interview was first published in The Toronto Quarterly blog.

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