What the Poets Are Doing - Some Responses and Excerpts

It's been just over a month since we launched What the Poets Are Doing in Victoria and Vancouver (photos here!). Since then, the book has been getting some wonderful coverage, including a wonderful review from Tara Henley in the Toronto Star.

“If you think an entire book about the poetic process — chronicled through email interviews, no less — sounds depressing or dull, you are not alone. You are, however, delightfully mistaken. This gem of a book sees several generations open up on writing, loss and life, and is a riveting read, akin to stumbling on private letters between your most literary and intriguing friends.”

WTPAD also made the Writers' Trust's 2018 Books of the Year, thanks to Journey Prize winner Shashi Bhat, who said of the book:

"As a creative writing instructor, I’m finding so much in here that I can share with my students to show the kind of lateral thinking involved in writing poetry, and that poetry isn’t written in a vacuum, but reflects and responds to the world we live in.”

That quote gave me a thrill, in that reaching young writers (or young maybe-I'll-be-a-writer?s) is one of my strongest desires for the book. I'd love to see Creative Writing and English classes take on the text. More generally, I've been pleasantly surprised by how many non-poets have responded very positively to the book - as both a way in to poetry, and a way to look out at the world through the poets' eyes.


Further coverage for the book has come from Read Local BC and The Source newspaper, which interviewed myself and Raoul Fernandes respectively:

Rob Taylor interview with Monica Miller (Read Local BC)
Raoul Fernandes interview with Brittany Thomson (The Source)

Raoul, on the nature of the book:

“I think it can be a wonderful thing to overhear people who care deeply about what they do, and talk about what it means to them.”

On the same theme, while speaking about Where the Words Come From (for which WTPAD serves as a spiritual sequel) in my interview, I mentioned:

"Where the Words Come From came out when I was 19 and only just starting to find my way to being a poet (a long path which I am still walking). But how does one “find their way to being a poet”? Through poems, of course, but also other means—literary readings, critical essays, social gatherings between writers. I like to think of Where the Words Come From as having been a combination of those last three things in book form, which was vital for me as I didn’t know any writers personally, and didn’t (and don’t) like actual parties. In just being there, in the room of that book with all those writers, I got a sense of what a life in writing might be.

I hope this new book can serve the same role for prospective writers and readers alike: a welcoming into this strange world of writerly concerns, habits, fears, jokes, and acts of faith. And for those already fully committed to poetry, I hope it serves to reinvigorate, to take them back to the source, that first feeling."


In addition to reviews and interviews, we've had great support from a number of online magazines in hosting short excerpts from the book itself (a couple more are still to come):

Dionne Brand and Souvankham Thommavongsa excerpt at The Puritan
Marilyn Dumont and Katherena Vermette excerpt at PRISM international
Sina Queyras and Canisia Lubrin excerpt at Rabble.ca
Russell Thornton and Phoebe Wang excerpt at EVENT


If you haven't got a copy of WTPAD yet, and any of the above intrigued you, you can pick one up at the usual places (or, until the end of the month, straight from me). Some of those links:

At Your Local Bookstore!
Harbour Publishing Website
Amazon Kindle
Kobo Ebook
Nook Ebook

Or, please, request a copy at your local library - few things make me happier than the thought of a reader stumbling upon this book in the stacks and having it worm its way into their life, as Where the Words Come From did with mine.


Hopefully there will be more updates along these lines in the new year, and the book will only continue to gain momentum. Regardless, it's been a wonderful first month!

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