Woven Odes: Stuart Ross

April 21, 2016

Stuart Ross is well known in Canadian poetry circles: he's the author of fifteen books of fiction, poetry, and essays; has his own imprint with Mansfield Press; and is a founding member of the Meet the Presses collective. His poetic reputation is for daring prose, surreal narratives, and often humorous wordplay. With A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent, very soon to be published under the Buckrider Books imprint of Wolsak & Wynn, Ross has switched his focus.

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Stuart Ross is well known in Canadian poetry circles: he's the author of fifteen books of fiction, poetry, and essays; has his own imprint with Mansfield Press; and is a founding member of the Meet the Presses collective. His poetic reputation is for daring prose, surreal narratives, and often humorous wordplay.

With A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent, very soon to be published under the Buckrider Books imprint of Wolsak & Wynn, Ross has switched his focus. In this collection readers will find intimate portraits between loved ones. Ross examines the intense, complex, powerful, and yes, sometimes even absurd, relationships people share with their family, friends, and even themselves. Longtime fans of Ross will recognize his inventiveness while newcomers will appreciate his dexterity with the language.

If you're in Toronto, come out to celebrate the publication of A Sparrow Came Dame Resplendent at the Monarch Tavern on May 12th.

 

 

ALU: Which particular poets or poetry collections have most inspired your writing (in general or for this poetry collection)?

SR: I read tons of poetry, and welcome in a multitude of inspirations and influences, so this is a tough one to answer without writing an entire book in response. But the books I have found most inspiring include Ron Padgett's Toujours L'Amour (1976), David McFadden's The Art of Darkness (1984), Lisa Jarnot's Black Dog Songs (2003) and Nicanor Parra's Emergency Poems (1972). That said, I return again and again to the works of Dara Wier, Nelson Ball, Heather Christle, James Tate, Larry Fagin, Harryette Mullen, Benjamin Peret, and, most recently, Dag Straumsvag. Because I've attempted to write a blockbuster mainstream bestseller with A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent, I had to ignore all those influences this time around.

ALU: Are you inspired by a particular place, thing, or someone other than another poet?

SR: I'm not inspired by any particular place really, at least not to write poems; I try to draw what I can from wherever I am, whether it's the bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario just east of Cobourg or a crowded bar in Montreal or my living room, with my dog barking at every goddamn person who walks by the window. I am often motivated to write by films, art installations and instrumental music, but usually I can procrastinate long enough so that the urge subsides.

ALU: Do you have any particular writing rituals?

SR: I have no writing rituals. I write haphazardly, either on a keyboard or else with a cheap mechanical pencil on lined paper. I don't even have a regular writing notebook: my apartment is scattered with dozens of mostly spiral-bound notebooks in which I've written on perhaps eight or twelve of the pages. It's very exciting when I unearth one of these from beneath a pile of other debris and discover a poem I wrote four years ago and forgot about. For me, writing often comes out of chaos, physical and mental. Except haiku.

 

 

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Only one week to go in our Woven Odes series... catch up on all the National Poetry Month celebrations here. And don't forget, you can continue to celebrate your love of poetry by taking home our poetry web poster and Woven Odes post card set.

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