Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Samuel Strathman

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.

Samuel Guest

Samuel Strathman

is a Jewish/Canadian poet and educator who was diagnosed with a non-verbal learning dis/ability at the age of seven. Some of his poems are forthcoming in The Elixir Magazine, Talking About Strawberries All of the Time, and on the Chaudiere Books’ blog. He lives in Toronto, Ontario with his cats Archie and China.

The Interview

  1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

What inspired me to write poetry was the basic need to express myself. I am a quiet person who has had to suppress a lot, and poetry has been, and continues to be a guiding force behind my happiness. As long as I am creating, I’m living.

  1. Who introduced you to poetry?

My grade six teacher introduced me to poetry, she was a fan of Emily Dickinson to the point where we almost forgot about Edgar Allen Poe.

  1. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I only became aware of older poets when I got myself immersed into the whole scene. Bill Bissett, Jericho Brown, Denez Smith, Michael Longley, Anne Michaels, Rob McLennan, Stuart Ross, Catherine Graham, Jeff Kirby, Robin Robinson. Not all of these people are “old poets” but they have garnered success, and I know that more than a few names are missing here.

  1. What is your daily writing routine?

My daily writing routine is between a half hour and an hour a day if I am lucky. I work with little children, so most of my energy has to go towards that. Writing is self-care for me, and the truth is that there is no such thing as work/life balance. That is made up.

  1. What motivates you to write?

What motivates me to write is nature and a love of nature. I take the politics out of my writing because I am not trying to lead a generation. All I am trying to do is make the most out of special moments that I have, and if other people think what I have to say is cool, than so be it. If people do not care, then that is fine with me too. I write for me, because everyone has to channel their inner creativity somehow.

  1. What is your work ethic?

Read, read, read, write. Read, read, read, write.

  1. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

The writers that I read when I was younger were very precise. Matsuo Basho, Li Po, Ono No Komachi. Many wrote Haiku. Haiku can be very understated. If my work fits in the category of understated, then that would be a huge compliment to me. These poets have influenced my work by keeping my poems short but to the point, something that will stick with the writer.

  1. Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

A lot has changed recently. I really admire Shannon Bramer, Stuart Ross, Jeff Kirby, Chris Banks, Edward Anki, Kkm Fahner, Mary Oliver, Louise Gluck, and Charles Simic to name a few. These are some of the many voices that make me laugh and cry, and remember what it is to be human in a world overflowing with technology. Stuart Ross, Chsrles Simic and Edward Anki keep me laughing while also providing me with harsh truths. Chris Banks and Shannon Bramer keep me asking a lot of rhetorical questions that help me as a writer. Mary Oliver and Louise Gluck are like wise old oracles.

  1. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

I write because I used to be sick and now I am better. I have a way to speak without being interrupted every ten seconds which is a lot nicer than the real world.

  1. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

How to become a writer? Write every day, even if you think it is garbage. Even if you are worn to the bone. Let the emotions out. Hold back nothing.

  1. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I have my first chapbook on the go. I have no idea what I am doing, but somebody out there thinks I do, and they told me so. What fun!

2 thoughts on “Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Samuel Strathman

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