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Poetry Express: Adele Graf + buckled into the sky
Written over a period of twenty years, Adele Graf’sbuckled into the sky (Guernica Editions) could not be more timely, with its focus on the essential nature of “home”—wherever that might be. In our Q&A, Adele discusses more of the central themes that tie this collection together, including our connection to the past, a doll that has served as an unlikely source of inspiration for her, and the sweet escape of a clawfoot tub. Plus, read the poem “Milla, Crete” from the collection below!
Photo of Adele Graf (Credit: Ed Overstreet)
[Image Description: A side photo of the author cropped just below the neckline. Her head is turned towards the camera. She has ear-length curly grey-brown hair. She wears red metallic framed glasses and a red shirt. She smiles with lips parted. In the background, slightly blurred, is a bookshelf.]ALU: What has been your most unlikely source of writing inspiration?AG: As a child, I had a Heidi costume doll. I hadn’t thought about it for years. One day I suddenly imagined this doll from the point of view of the main character in the Heidi book. I imagined what Heidi would think if she had to live her life as this doll. The resulting poem is “Heidi costume doll talks of her sixty years as my prize in a childhood writing contest.” The poem was a lot of fun to write and is included in this book. ALU: Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?AG: Definitely. Poetry’s range of possibilities has expanded and continues to expand. As a writer of poetry, I’m always trying to express more of what’s behind the words. I’m also interested in using different styles to move around and beyond the words. And I’ve learned to trust the reader more.As a reader of poetry, I’m more open to discovering what poets are trying to communicate—and how and why they’ve chosen to communicate in a particular way. ALU: What are you most in the mood to read these days? Any poets you’re especially enjoying?AG: I’m in the mood to read a wide variety of poets all at once (not something I often do). I’ll read some poems from one book, pick a contrasting book from my shelf, then read something else from a different collection. I’m especially enjoying Magnetic Equator by Kaie Kellough and Keeping Count by M. Travis Lane. ALU: Describe your ideal escape.AG: I have an old clawfoot bathtub in the quiet upstairs of my house. The tub is long enough so I can extend my legs, and deep enough so I can recline in chin-deep water. The water is hot and oiled. My muscles relax, my mind clears, I doze or muse. Sometimes new poems emerge.
A poem from buckled into the skyMilia, Crete
* * *Adele Graf grew up outside New York City and immigrated to Canada in 1968. She has worked as a writer and editor, and taught writing in the public and private sectors in Halifax and Ottawa. Her first book of poetry, math for couples, was published by Guernica Editions in 2017 and shortlisted for the Archibald Lampman Award. Her chapbook, Directions to Suffern NY circa 1950, won the Tree Reading Series chapbook prize and was published in 2018. Her second book of poetry, buckled into the sky, was published by Guernica Editions in 2021. She lives in Ottawa with her spouse.
* * *During the month of April, you can buy buckled into the sky and any one of our other featured Poetry Express books for 15% off + free shipping in Canada with promo code NPMexpress. Or find them at your local independent bookstore with our Shop Local option.Keep up with us all month on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with the hashtag #ALUPoetryExpress.