Holly will be leading a free workshop on sonnet writing on January 25, 2018 at 7:00 pm at the Waverley Resource Library. No registration is necessary.
How long have you been a member of NOWW? Since 1997-98 – Deborah de Bakker invited me to join and give a workshop at Confederation College. Jean E Penziwol was my student there, and protégée, let us say.
What do you normally write? I write it all! Lately my focus is poetry and poetic inquiry (a form of academic scholarship).
And who are some of your favourite authors?
Here are some who come to mind: Margaret Mahy, Roald Dahl, Aristotle, Thomas Merton, Isabel Allende, Kasuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Jane Urquhart, Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Wilkinson, Molly Peacock, Jan Zwicky, Yann Martel, and André Alexis. The last two came up out of my book club, which has always encouraged me to keep up with literary culture. Otherwise, I follow an idiosyncratic route, linking from books I’ve already read and liked, or else from an idea that comes to mind. For example, one summer I read nothing but dystopias. And I must also shout out to our regional writers; they are fam-jam!
Let’s get to know you a bit better. Tell us a bit about yourself!
Although I started my arts career teaching and writing for children, my interest in BIG IDEAS has led me into poetic discourse. All the same, small ideas make for good poetry, too. Poetry is really just a way of understanding life. When I say poetry, I don’t distinguish it greatly from story, which is just a synonym for how humans live life,
What’s your writing like?
For some time now, I have been absorbed by philosophical ideas such as: How is art a way of knowing? How does a metaphysics (personal and collective beliefs about reality and being) contribute to a grammar of art? These questions might seem abstract and abstruse, but they are ultimately what is behind poetics, the theory and craft of literature.
And where does your inspiration come from or who inspires your writing?
In terms of theories of art, I have been following the ideas of Umberto Eco, Northrop Fry, Elliot Eisner, Suzanne Langer, Giles Deleuze, Paul Ricoeur, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Richard Kearney and David Abram. An eclectic crew. One of them said this: “Because we are in the world, we are condemned to meaning, and we cannot say or do anything without its acquiring a name in history.”
Can we see you at any upcoming NOWW events?
I will be leading a free workshop on Sonnet Writing on January 25th.
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
I have poetry published in a number or regional anthologies. I have two children’s novels, Dream Dad and Summer Dragons with Dundurn Press. My biggest social media presence is on Facebook, where I sometimes post poetry for my five friends.
And to end things off, tell us something surprising about yourself!
I can stand on my head. I still have all my own teeth. Iay ikelay otay eakspay inay igpay atinlay.
The Hosiery of Convention
Billy Collins says it’s nothin: just
a word, and then another, line by line
until you’re done; fourteen, thirteen, twelve
eleven; rock it with your thoughts, not iambs;
charms and pics instead of scansion; pitch
the hosiery of convention; ditch that girl
or boy’s dear ransome; blow out the blighted
pizzle, plant another row to-pickle.
But if the modern race ain’t for you; if
free-lovin verse has passed you; if you’d learn
the ease of rules; if you’d seek the wit
of fools; then come and sing a bygone song.
Within the sonnet's well-ploughed plot of ground,
let us reverse, where words of worth be found.