a roll of nickels 2018 year in review

Twelve years and this blog is still (kinda, sorta, somehow) chugging along.

It was a busy year for me, launching two (!) books - "Oh Not So Great": Poems from the Depression Project in January and What the Poets Are Doing: Canadian Poets in Conversation in November (launch photos here and here). I pledge never to do this again, lest folk start thinking I'm the heir apparent to George Bowering or something...

While getting those books out in the world required a good share of my energy, I was still able to make a few things happen here on the blog. The highlights:

January 2018: One Way or Another: On Don Coles and his Poetry

My reflections on the life and poetry of Don Coles, who died in late November 2017. It includes some healthy quotations on the man and his writing from both Don and others. I delivered this essay as part of a reading at the January 2018 Dead Poets Reading Series event.

March 2018: a gift to myself - An Interview with Mallory Tater

"A big part of writing this book was going back into my adolescent mind-frame and seeing what I believed no one to care about, a time when maybe I felt voiceless, and subverting that as a sort of gift to myself and my childhood friends." - Mallory Tater

April/May 2018: BC Poetry 2018

The third, and final, year of the series featured 38 new books (and 38 poems) by BC poets, bringing the total number of books/poems featured up to 94 (you can read the 2017 and 2016 editions here and here). It was a very inspiring - if exhausting - project, and while I'm leaving it behind, I do have a new special project I'm cooking up for 2019. Stay tuned!

May 2018: I keep coming back to what gives me courage - An Interview with Kate Braid

"I think now I’m braver. Or I care less about what people think of me. This is one of the great joys of getting older." - Kate Braid

June 2018: Guest Interview: Brandon Wnuk interviews Catherine Owen

It was a real pleasure to host this interview with Catherine Owen, conducted by my former student at UFV, Brandon Wnuk.

September 2018: caught unawares at the centre - An Interview with Amanda Jernigan

"I suppose that poetry is, for me, among other things, the language — or a language — of faith and doubt. Life, too, is such a language." - Amanda Jernigan

September 2018: an entire page of words about one damn thing - An Interview with Curtis LeBlanc

"Some of the good I wanted to do with these poems was to give a window for other men to look into and see themselves and maybe realize that that resentment they feel and felt towards the way they were expected to be wasn’t misplaced." - Curtis LeBlanc

December 2018: the passport filled with shrapnel - An Interview with Dominique Bernier-Cormier

"“Foreign correspondent” means a correspondent of the foreign, not a correspondent who is foreign. That’s the wrong way around, I think. " - Dominique Bernier-Cormier

December 2018: One Last Dead Poets Reading Series Update

I stepped down as a coordinator of the Dead Poets Reading Series in December, a series I co-"resurrected" with Diane Tucker and Christopher Levenson back in 2011. I really enjoyed writing this piece on my time with the series, which caused me to reflect on the role public readings, and public remembering, have had on my development as a poet.

I finally turned the tide on interviews - my output per year had been dwindling from nine in 2015, to seven in 2016, to four last year. 2018 saw five, and if all goes according to plan (see "new special project" above), 2019 will continue that upward trend.

My posting of new quotes on writing slowed considerably, though. I only added thirteen (down from 29 last year), and none after March (I have a very bloated "to read" file of online interviews and essays which I hope to get to soon). The two new books and editing for Best Canadian Poetry 2019 have kept me busy. Oh, and the kid too.

Thank you once again this year to PRISM international for simultaneously posting interviews from this site. And thanks also to EVENT magazine for providing another new home for some of my interviews. I hope to continue to add new interview venues in 2019, though no matter where they're simul-posted you'll always be able to find them here too, oh stubborn handful of people who still monitor RSS feeds.

Happy New Year, all!