Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Good Morning Open Book Readers!

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Hello Open Book readers! It’s a pleasure to be here, and I look forward to acting as the writer in residence here at Open Book for the month of December. Having been given time to contemplate what topics I might want to write about during my online residency, I became all too aware of how daunting the task could be. About twenty times a day I check my newsfeed on Facebook and see countless articles, reviews, essays, blog posts, etc. being circulated, all the virtual pats on the backs, the moments of awe that come as I read a particularly interesting piece. It’s wonderful to consume these articles as a reader, but now I suddenly had to try to share the stage with these posts and try to write in the hopes that the content I post will be worth reading to the general public and literary community. That’s intimidating for someone who has only ever written poetry and fiction. On top of that, I was also struck by the incredible job Alexis Von Konigslow did with her own writer in residency with open book during the month of September as well as Kevin Hardcastle’s residency in November and Liz Worth’s in October. They’re all tough acts to follow. I was both impressed and intimidated by their ability to tackle unique subject matter that was still appealing and accessible to blog readers and the general public. When I was first given this opportunity a few months ago, I thought, read, talked with other writers, attempted to plan it all out, and I came up with absolutely nothing. But then I realized a common thread between Alexis, Kevin, and Liz, which is the fact that they wrote about what they were invested in, things that were a part of their lives both inside and outside the world of writing. Whether it was an article born out of a journal entry and a personal fear, an exploration of how real life tragedies shape fictional writing, or a series of posts inspired by literature, the author’s son, and memories of the author’s own childhood, either way these writers over the past few months at Open Book have made their residencies personal. They made this whole gig their own. And it was tremendous.

So, that’s what I’m going to attempt to do with my own residency here at Open Book. I’m going to focus on what I know; however limited that scope may be. I’m going to discuss topics that matter to me, but also touch on issues that might relate to those who have had similar experiences, especially anyone going through that strange experience of releasing their first book into the world and then trying to figure out what comes next.

With other writers in mind, I’ll be trying to share this space on Open Book with poets who I admire and think deserve to be showcased. I’ll be doing a series of posts I’ve labeled “Poets in Preview,” (I know, lame title, and a clear copy of Open Book’s “Poets in Profile”) where each week I will share with you a brief update on a talented poet who has something exciting coming in the near future. Here, I’ll be trying to limit my selection to emerging poets who have one book or less published. This isn’t meant to discriminate against those who have published more; it’s just my feeling that a poet with four or five books and a well-established reputation and career probably doesn’t need my help promoting their work, or I wouldn’t necessarily have much to offer them considering I’m an emerging poet at the beginning of his career.

Of course, in other posts I will be showcasing writers with more books under their belts, particularly in the form of interviews and reviews as well as a few lists (What’s the internet without lists?) of my favourite books in 2015 and those I’m excited for in 2016. This seems appropriate since I find myself taking on this role at the end of the year. Another article I hope to share is based on my own experiences publishing my first full-length collection, and some potential suggestions I would give to an emerging writer who is about to do the same.

Through articles and interviews, I’ll also be focusing on a couple of subjects that have been a part of my life for almost as long as poetry and writing, but I’ll leave those as a surprise for now, so stay tuned for that, and pop back in here each week to see a new poet in preview. I’m looking forward to being here and I hope you enjoy what I have to share. I’m new to this type of writing, but it’s an exciting gig. Please feel free to comment, send me messages, or ask questions. I’d love to chat.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.