Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
was raised in Northern Ontario. He is proud of his Aboriginal roots – Ojibwe Indian and French Canadian. After receiving his BA from Lakehead University, where he won the Munro Poetry Prize, David studied creative writing at the En’owkin Centre in Penticton, B.C., where he won the Simon J Lucas Jr. Memorial Award for poetry. He has also studied at the University of Victoria Creative Writing Program. David has had eleven poetry books published – Night in the Exude(Tyro Publications: Sault Ste Marie, 1997); The Long Dance (Kegedonce Press, Neyaashiinigmiing, 2000); Under God’s Pale Bones (Kegedonce Press, Neyaashiinigmiing, 2010); A Difficult Beauty (Wolsak & Wynn: Hamilton, ON 2011); Rising With A Distant Dawn (BookLand Press: Toronto, ON 2011); Imagine Mercy (BookLand Press: Toronto, ON 2013); These Threads Become A Thinner Light (Theytus Books, Penticton, BC 2014); and In The Silhouette Of Your Silences (N.O.N Publishing, Vancouver, BC 2014). Wabigoon River Poems (Kegedonce Press, Neyaashiinigmiing, 2015), The Windigo Chronicles (Bookland Press, 2016), From Turtle Island To Gaza (AU press, 2019)
David won the 3rd annual Poetry NOW Battle of the Bards in 2011, and was a featured reader at the IFOA in Toronto & Barrie (2011), as well as Ottawa Writer’s Festival (2012). David has appeared on The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and was the Writer-In-Residence for Open Book Toronto for November 2012.David’s poetry has been translated into Spanish & German. Rising With A Distant Dawn was translated into French; under the title, Le lever à l’aube lointaine, 2013.Red River Review nominated David’s poems for Pushcart Prizes in 2012, and David’s poetry has appeared in over a 160 publications in 16 countries. He lives in Ottawa, Canada.
- When and why did you start writing poetry?
Expression is the first word that comes to kind, I believe that it is as important as air, food or water. Life is nothing until it evinced by the word.
- Who introduced you to poetry?
There didn’t seem to be much poetry around when I was a kid. We had lots of books because my parents believed reading was important. I suppose the poetry I heard was in the way people spoke. My mother has an aboriginal accent, my father a heavy French accent. And then there were lots of immigrants, Portuguese, Italians, Polish and all these people spoke English differently. Like all kids brought up in a colony I was introduced to the English Romantics and a few Canadian poets. There was nothing to speak to me as a Half-breed living in Canada so I decided to create my own.
- How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?
I really don’t know how aware I was of the presence of older poets. I only knew that there were voices that went unheard in a dominant society. It said that this was poetry and this isn’t. I could not fit in, I could not be a part of no matter how hard I tried. I turned to poets from Africa, the middle east. Anywhere in the third world.
- What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t have a ‘daily’ writing routine, because I work a regular job. During the week I try to write some notes down to use later. I do all of my writing on the weekends. Which is getting up before dawn, a pot of coffee, a pack of smokes, a computer and a small pot-bellied dog snoring somewhere behind me. I guess writing is something I’m always doing; either taking notes, writing, thinking about writing or reading.
- What motivates you to write?
It is who I am, it is what I am. Without it my life would be meaningless to me. at some desolate times in my life, I believe it has even kept me alive.
- What is your work ethic?
I go to a mindless job every day to keep the wolves from the door, I write because some day that knocking at the door may be opportunity. I see it like this, if you are not writing, you are not a writer. I sometimes think that if I am ever satisfied with my writing I’ll quit, which means I’ll be doing this until the day I die, whish I hope is a long time from now. I think death is a good motivation for almost anything.
- How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I remember reading America & other poems by Jeff Bien and Tiffany Midge’s Outlaws, Renegades and Saints : Diary of a Mixed-Up Halfbreed and thinking to myself I want to write like this. For most of the poetry I’ve heard or read I remember thing I don’t want to sound like that. It has always been a exploration of my own voice. I did one year at the University of Victoria’ creative writing program and I quit because what I heard was mostly upper white middle class stuff; writing about their trips overseas. It was uninteresting and boring. I think life will influence my poetry more than other people’s poems about it.
- Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
I’ve been reading Aim Cesare lately. He speaks of the colonizer and the colonized, this type of relationship is what governs our society, especially y here in Canada. It is something about his expression of that relationship.
- Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?
I can’t sing a note.
- What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
If someone asked me how do you become a writer, I would tell them. ‘ You first must have a deep love of disappointment’ and then you write.
- Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
A long time ago I spent some time in jail. When I was young I’ve always had an involvement with law enforcement, seems I couldn’t keep my hands to myself. It’s called In the Days I was Known to My Brother as Papillon. Most of the manuscript has been sitting around the house for a couple of years now and now I’ve decided to finish it, its something I’m doing for myself, if it gets published or not, I haven’t decided yet.