I grew up between two polarities: on the one hand, anxiety of influence, the necessity to seem utterly independent as an artist, to somehow divorce oneself from the progress of predecessors, to have a voice so completely, starkly unique; on the other hand, emulation of influence, the mistrust of own creative impetus, the drive to find another’s voice and try to copy and embody it, the need to disown personal force in favour of what has been done. Of course, both these examples are extremes and there is a beauteous middle ground, which I might call the generosity of influence. For me, influence is an acknowledgement of the work peers and predecessors are doing or have done; it is a move from isolated work into conversation between works; it is collaboration, communication, and credit; it is the strength which also drives new work to be produced, which creates a climate conducive to risk and creative exploration. Read more →
“You’re late,” Madame McKinnon said for the third time, tugging on the left sleeve of her dress.
She appeared quite content to stay in her armchair. In fact, it appeared to be her favourite pastime – pulling her sleeves and telling people they were late.
“You’re awfully late,” she repeated.
“Yes, Madame, I do apologize, it’s because of the bus, as I said…”
I want to be somewhere else, Marie Bilodeau thought feverishly. Read more →
When I was five, you and I duelled
with Tang dynasty verses, a match
to see whose breath held
more poetry. You won with
mind-reader wits, predicting
each poem I had recalled, reciting
each before my turn. I gave up Read more →
It is told and retold
of how Kohkum killed a bear with a river rock
an arm like Ronnie Lancaster (that old Saskatchewan Roughrider)
she throws with precision
at Muskwa’s third eye
it is like a baby’s soft spot Read more →