VAH: Who is your favorite literary character?
CAS: I can’t choose between Custard, the Cowardly Dragon and The Cheshire Cat.
VAH: Do you have a favorite author?
CAS: Perhaps Richard Wagamese, a Canadian First Nations author, who wrote Dream Wheels. It won the Canadian Authors Association award for fiction in 2007. I read a single line from the back cover and was hooked. Wagamese is a powerful storyteller, one of the best I’ve read. He weaves together both compelling story and First Nations customs which are fascinating. Many books I read and forget but not this one.
VAH: You’re stranded in a snowstorm, stuck on a deserted island. What books would you hope to have with you or find? Why these choices?
CAS: Poetry for sure, but not a single author. An anthology, a big one, with poets from the 20th and 21st century and a book of writing prompts, perhaps The Poet’s Companion, so that I am inspired to keep writing. Novels that have interesting older women, characters that get into odd situations but all’s well in the end. Romance optional. Humor essential!
VAH: What is the most memorable book, story or poem you’ve read? How so?
CAS: I started to say The Water Babies, by Charles Kingsley, something my parents read to me when I was a child. I always remember two characters: Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid. I recall it as a morality tale for children, but I think even more influential would have to be A Child’s Garden of Verses, Robert Louis Stevenson. That book probably was my first acquaintance with poetry and some of the poems still stay with me today.
VAH: Do you have a favorite book, poem, or story?
CAS: I have a lot of favorite poems, but I will share this one:
“The Hush of the Very Good” Todd Boss (c 2008)
I’m not sure how I first came to this poem, but I remember hearing Todd Boss read The Hush of the Very Good online. The poem describes a kiss, a particularly good kiss, while juxtaposing it with a metaphoric small boat. The images are so vividly drawn using simple language. But it isn’t just that. Visually, it’s the unusual way the lines break, short lines clinging to the right margins, then back to the left, like waves the wake of a boat makes.
The poem asks questions, draws the reader in. It’s a poem to be read aloud, to wrap your tongue around long ohhh sounds and soft sibilants, sounds are very reminiscent of ocean and waves, the whisper of reeds, and the poem slows down, then speeds up through short words and hard consonants, b, p, d. It’s just such a lush poem to read out loud.
Next installment – Carol A. Stephen shares about her writing community.
Sample her work:
Learning to Dance (Silver Birch Press)
Waiting for Green Mornings (Silver Birch Press)
In a Moment She’ll Unfurl (the light ekphrastic)
Carol A. Stephen is a Canadian poet, poetry selector for Bywords Journal and a member of the League of Canadian Poets. She’s served on boards of Canadian Authors Association, National Capital Region (CAA-NCR), Arts Carleton Place and Tree Reading Series Ottawa. Carol coordinated CAA’s poetry circle 2008-2013.
Her poetry has appeared in Bywords Quarterly Journal, Tree Press/phaphours press chapbooks and online at The Light Ekphrastic and Silver Birch Press. Chapbooks: Above the Hum of Yellow Jackets, Bondi Studios, 2011 and Architectural Variations, Quillfyre Publishing, 2012. Ink Dogs in my Shoe, Dec. 2014 from Nose In Book Publishing, Castlegar B.C.
Awards: 3rd Prize CAA 2012 National Capital Writing Contest for Walking in Thomson’s Red Sumac. Honourable Mentions: VERSeFest, Poetry for the End of the World, 2012, Arborealis 2012 and 2008 Ontario Poetry Society, Double Your Pleasure 2013 Ontario Poetry Society and CAA’s 2008 and 2011 National Capital Writing Contest.
Recent publication: In December, 2014 her third chapbook, Ink Dogs in my Shoes, was published by Nose In Book Publishing, Castlegar, B.C. This is a chapbook of poems all containing some element of three in them. Subjects range from garden to writing process to nonsense rhymes, and some explore conceptual poetry or experiment with wordplay.
Three by Five posts on days that end in threes.