Interview: 12 or 20 questions re ^^^^^^

Where does a poem usually begin for you? Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a “book” from the very beginning?

Honestly, many of my poems begin with me ranting in bed at night.

Are public readings part of or counter to your creative process? Are you the sort of writer who enjoys doing readings?

I can’t manage to feel one way about readings. The vibes are so variable and I can’t be the mountain. If someone sneezes, I say, “Oh no! They don’t care at all!” Then I say, “They can’t help it, it’s a reflex! Get over yourself!” And it feels like I’m Richard E. Grant in How to Get Ahead in Advertising, fighting with my giant boil co-head in the middle of a dinner party.

Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?

I don’t have a lot of patience for theory. But I have many concerns. I get this line in my head from some daytime TV talk show I saw, when they had a cook on as a guest. She’s shoving onions around in a frying pan, and he host asks her, “How did you start cooking? Did you go to culinary school?” And she hollers: “I went to the school of MAMA!” That’s pretty much my background with theory.

I’m with C. Wright Mills on this — “Let every man be his own methodologist.”

Whole thing here.


More faves

Got these pleasing mentions for Sharps! Paul Vermeersch was kind enough to mention my book in his gift guide recommendations at All Lit Up:

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Writer and designer Kate Hargreaves chose Sharps as one of her favourite books of the year, over at BookThug:

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And Carmine Starnino made a list on Twitter of his most enjoyed, including mine:

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The other books they recommend are also great and it’s a total treat to be placed in the company of so many great writers!




Stevie Howell is an Irish-Canadian writer & editor. A first collection of poetry, Sharps (Goose Lane, 2014), was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. A second book, I left nothing inside on purpose, is forthcoming in 2018 from Penguin Random House Canada. 

Stevie’s poetry has appeared in U.S. publications including BOAAT, Prelude, Prairie Schooner, The Cossack Review, Gigantic Sequins, & The Best American Poetry site; & in Irish & U.K. publications including The Rialto, The Moth, Southword, & Banshee; & in The Best Canadian Poetry (2014 & 2015), HazlittThe WalrusGeist, Maisonneuve. Their critical writing has been published in PloughsharesThe Rumpus, National PostThe Globe & Mail, & Quill & Quire. Stevie is the poetry editor at This Magazine & an MFA candidate in creative writing at NYU.

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