Author Essays, Interviews, and Excerpts, Poetry

Southern exposure

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The Shelf, a literary blog associated with the Canadian magazine The Walrus has just posted an interview with Elise Partridge discussing her new book of poems, Chameleon Hours. Partridge, who splits her time between Vancouver, BC, and Washington State, talks with Jared Bland about the reception of her work in the U.S. and, alternatively, how she sees it fitting into a Canadian literary tradition:

Much of your work has been published in the States, including in the New Yorker, and this new book is being simultaneously issued by the University of Chicago Press. In other words, you have more southern exposure than many Canadian poets. Does this effect the way in which you see your work fitting into a Canadian poetic tradition? Not to force you into any immodest comparisons, but what strain of poetic thought do you see your work coming out of?
I think writers inevitably belong in some way to their native countries and languages, but are also often hybrids of their own making, based on their sensibilities, influences, and so on. As an English-speaking North American (a dual citizen of Canada and the United States) I’ve been influenced by all kinds of literature in English—British, American, Irish, Australian, Canadian—and by literature translated into English, especially Polish, Russian, German, Latin American, and Chinese.…
And as to what Canadian tradition I might fit into—if I can place myself among living poets here, I do feel a bond with many, some older than I am and perhaps even more in the rising generations. I would certainly like to see Canadian poetry get more “southern exposure.” I think there is a great deal that could both inspire and invigorate American poetry, and many more readers in the US who might simply enjoy and learn from Canadian poetry.

Read the rest of the interview on The Shelf.