Ali Blythe is the author of Twoism, which was published in the fall with icehouse poetry at Goose Lane Editions. Blythe completed a residency at the Banff Centre and a writing degree at the University of Victoria, receiving the Candis Graham Writing Scholarship from the Lambda Foundation for excellence in writing and support of the queer community. Poems from Twoism have been published in literary journals and anthologies in Canada and Germany.
1 - How did your first book change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?
Oh, Twoism is my life. I don’t really believe in past lives, though I sort of hope for future ones.
2 - How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?
Poetry made sense in my 4-yr-old brain and it stayed that way.
3 - How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes?
The shape. That’s interesting. The position of the struggle, frozen there on the page. Jacob and the angel. Look at that angel’s back foot.
4 - 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?
I try very hard not to say the word “poem” or “book” aloud in that context.
5 - Are public readings part of or counter to your creative process? Are you the sort of writer who enjoys doing readings?
I love readings. The feeling of camaraderie with fellow poets.
6 - 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 much prefer the practical applications of things. For instance, would you rather theorize about Jacob and the angel or would rather choose one of those bodies to jump into. Maybe the answer to my current question is: both please, at once.
7 – What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?
To make the souls drop out of the bottoms of our feet.
8 - Do you find the process of working with an outside editor difficult or essential (or both)?
Essential. I abide in that relationship. Phil Hall edited Twoism. So I’ve been very lucky. One for one.
9 - What is the best piece of advice you've heard (not necessarily given to you directly)?
“You should send that to Dave Seymour at icehouse-Goose Lane.”
10 - What kind of writing routine do you tend to keep, or do you even have one? How does a typical day (for you) begin?
I wake up with a slight pinching headache, thankful for last night and the poems in my head.
11 - When your writing gets stalled, where do you turn or return for (for lack of a better word) inspiration?
When I am stalled, I am busy looking at the view and digging around in my jeans' pocket for that thing I left there.
12 - What fragrance reminds you of home?
Her pheromones and a wet dog.
Though I like Eileen Myles answer, circa November 17, 2013.
13 - David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art?
Yes, all of the above, with music coming last. No wait a minute, I forgot about Boards of Canada.
14 - What other writers or writings are important for your work, or simply your life outside of your work?
Melanie Siebert, Garth Martens, Anne-Marie Turza.
15 - What would you like to do that you haven't yet done?
Live dusk and sunup ad infinitum.
16 - If you could pick any other occupation to attempt, what would it be? Or, alternately, what do you think you would have ended up doing had you not been a writer?
A male ballet dancer. Living in the desert. Thinking of the city.
17 - What made you write, as opposed to doing something else?
100% joy, 100% sadness, at all times.
18 - What was the last great book you read? What was the last great film?
Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. Can’t think about a film after I think about that book.
19 - What are you currently working on?
Waking up with a slight pinching headache, thankful for last night and the poems in my head.
12 or 20 (second series) questions;