Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Kate Hargreaves

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The Proust Questionnaire, with Kate Hargreaves

It's not often that a poetic debut garners the kind of praise that Kate Hargreaves's Leak (BookThug) is receiving. Kate, who has published widely in magazines, journals and anthologies, moves onto the bookshelves this season with her full-length debut. Fellow poet Nicole Markotić said of Leak: "These poems will leak from your tongue into your brain, gushing pleasure: pleasure: pleasure: pleasure."

We are pleased to host Kate on Open Book today as part of our Proust Questionnaire series. The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.

We get a peek into the nature of a talented new poetic voice as Kate tells us about the conflict between virtue and peanut butter, the literary character whose name Kate borrowed for her roller derby persona and a motto you may want to put on your bedroom wall too.


What is your dream of happiness?
Several more Halloweens per calendar year.

What is your idea of misery?
Assembly line work (again). Inactivity.

Where would you like to live?
Somewhere with less extreme temperature fluctuations.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Patience, tolerance, willingness to try new foods.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
See above. Also, roller derby skills.

What is your chief characteristic?
Compulsive worry.

What is your principal fault?
See above. Also, the need to be in control of all situations.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Buying frozen berries when they are not on sale.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Lack of punctuality. Swearing.

What do you value most about your friends?
Loyalty, understanding, independence.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Emotionally manipulative personalities.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
Talking too much about nothing.

What is your favourite virtue?
Self-control. I aspire to possess more of it when in the presence of peanut butter.

What is your favourite occupation?
Designing book covers isn't bad when the technology cooperates.

What would you like to be?
Healthy, strong, and creatively fulfilled.

What is your favourite colour?

What is your favourite flower?

What is your favourite bird?

What historical figure do you admire the most?
I'm pretty fascinated by Nicola Tesla.

What character in history do you most dislike?
I suppose it would be the obvious, murderers, dictators, warmongers, etc.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Wilde. Fitzgerald. Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Miranda July. Sylvia Plath.

Who are your favourite poets?
Plath. Anne Sexton. bp Nichol. I think Susan Holbrook's poetry is wonderful, and I was lucky enough to take several courses with her when I was in university.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
I suppose since she's my roller derby namesake I should say Jane Eyre. Outside the realm of literature I would likely go with Buffy Summers or maybe Alabama Worley.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Laura Jane Grace. Roller derby skater Scald Eagle.

Who is your favourite painter?
She isn't necessarily a painter but my friend Jennifer McIntyre is a fantastic artist who I admire a great deal.

Who is your favourite musician?
Because I can't decide: David Bowie, Kathleen Hanna, Placebo, Against Me!, Bright Eyes.

What is your favourite food?
There's an Ethiopian restaurant in Windsor called Marathon. I could eat their vegetable platter on injera every day. Also, peanut butter.

What is your favourite drink?
Alcoholic: extra dry white wine. Non-alcoholic: water with lemon juice.

What are your favourite names?
I once had a gerbil I called Bee. I hope to one day own a whippet named Winston.

What is it you most dislike?

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
Overcoming creative blocks. Hip abduction.

How do you want to die?
Before I lose control of my mind or my bodily functions. Leaving behind a tidy house.

What is your current state of mind?
In a bit of a rut.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Putting out a book of poems. Learning to semi-competently communicate in American Sign Language.

What is your motto?
"No excuses, no apologies, no regrets." It's cheesy because I stole it from a cheesy television program, but I make no excuses for it. I do not apologize for printing it out and pinning it to my bedroom wall. I do not regret admitting any of that here.

Kate Hargreaves is a writer and roller derby skater. Her first book, Talking Derby: Stories from a Life on Eight Wheels (2012), is a collection of short prose vignettes inspired by women's flat-track roller derby. Her poetry has been published in literary journals across North America, including Descant, filling Station, The Puritan, Drunken Boat, The Antigonish Review, Canada and Beyond, Carousel and Rampike, in the anthologies Whisky Sour City and Detours as well as in the Windsor Review's "Best Writers Under 35" issue. Hargreaves was the recipient of a Windsor Endowment for the Arts Emerging Literary Artist Award in 2011 and a Governor General's Gold Medal in Graduate Studies at the University of Windsor in 2012.

Check out all the Proust Questionnaire interviews in our archives.

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