a roll of nickels year in review

Year 13 here at Roll of Nickels was low in quantity and hopefully high in quality?

It featured less than half as many posts (24), as the previously lowest total (51 in 2013). What can I say? I finished launching What the Poets Are Doing with an Ontario tour in March, then in October launched Best Canadian Poetry 2019 in both Vancouver and Toronto a mere 24 hrs apart. That's right, a two-Toronto year. How lucky can a girl get?

Oh, and somewhere in there, my wife and I had a baby. And a chapbook arrived. So, yes, a little busy. The quotes on writing section of this blog suffered most acutely, as I managed only one this year (though I have 64 interviews unread and waiting for me - thanks, rob mclennan...)

My major blog-related activity this year was the launch of my Poetry Month interview series over at Read Local BC, which is my new initiative replacing the "BC Poetry" series I ran from 2016-2018. The good folk at Read Local BC gave me the space and support to publish eight interviews in four weeks. I added three more later in the year, to push this year's interview total to eleven (a new Roll of Nickels record!). I also managed to archive four old interviews which had appeared over at PRISM international but had been lost during their recent web redesign.

Here are the year's highlights:

April 2019: Laughing is great and people like doing it: An Interview with Dina Del Bucchia

"This city is rough. The good and the bad are one and the same and I can’t see it another way. The city wants us to make their coffees in the business district and not have homes, but we’re always finding funding or pockets of space for art. I am hopeful on some level that we can all survive here—artists, people in the service industry, single parents, disabled people, etc.—and that the city won’t turn us all out. Occupy Shaughnessy, burn something down, build a barge out of craft beer cans and dock it in front of the fanciest yachts." - Dina Del Bucchia

April 2019: What's not included is as essential as what is: An Interview with Chantal Gibson

"I believe in books, good books. They can help us become more thoughtful, more reflective, more empathetic citizens. You asked what we need to do better? We can become better listeners. That means actively seeking out new voices that may be unsettling and unfamiliar. That means being open to different ways of learning and challenging ourselves to sit in the discomfort of not knowing, of not having all the answers." - Chantal Gibson

April 2019: The mystery of where you come from: An Interview with Russell Thornton

"I’d say that in a way all poets are part and parcel of a single composite anonymous poet. I think the irony is that this “poet” is alone. And I think the natural state of individual mortal poets both is and isn’t one of aloneness. Most monumental artistic human expression is for me a cry or wail or howl of aloneness, an address to whatever is out there, or in there—and is other, totally other than ourselves." - Russell Thornton

April 2019: Looking at the consciousness of people: An Interview with Garry Gottfriedson

"In many of my poems, I make points regarding the “Truth and Reconciliation” attempts in Canada. One of the major issues I see with that process is that it uses the colonizer’s language to attempt to reconcile major historical and present issues in this country. Similar to the approach French Canadians have taken, Canada cannot truly expect a decent relationship with First Nations in Canada if the language that is used is only the colonizer’s." - Garry Gottfriedson

April 2019: A big work presented to all: An Interview with George Bowering and George Stanley

"I’m reminded of a joke that George [Bowering] told when we were in Seattle. Before he started reading he said, “This is my prayer, oh Lord. If I have only one life to live I hope this is not it.” - George Stanley

April 2019: Therapy for me and an education for others: An Interview with Cassandra Blanchard

"I absolutely believe that poetry can be a kind of therapy for people. It was for me. Releasing all those feelings through writing helped to relieve a lot pent up emotion. Reading my poems makes me feel so glad that I have changed my life around." - Cassandra Blanchard

April 2019: Getting closer to the truth: An Interview with Jennica Harper

"The conclusion I’m coming to is I’m not as interested in narrative truth as I am in authentic emotion (including ugly ones). My goal is to get closer to that truth: finding something raw and real. I don’t think I’m perfect at this. It’s just a goal." - Jennica Harper

April 2019: Love is not all: An Interview with Ruth Daniell

"“Love is not all” is a recurring thought behind much of my poetry, although any direct reference to Millay left the book many revisions ago. We have other needs—food, water, shelter, medicine—that are arguably more important than love, but we tend to treat love, especially romantic love, as if it can cure anything that’s wrong in our lives." - Ruth Daniell

October 2019: A very real and open window: An Interview with Emily Davidson

"The making of the book was one of concentric circles of vulnerability for me: I started with subjects I was content to share, and then I ran out of safe things to talk about and had to wade into the next layer of exposure, and so on. Lift feels like a very real and open window to some of the parts of myself I’m still learning to like, but if someone were to climb through to their own discoveries—then the discomfort would be worth it." - Emily Davidson

October 2019: A little retreat in myself: An Interview with Matthew Walsh

"I would absolutely fuck the moon." - Matthew Walsh

October 2019: Best Canadian Poetry 2019 is here!

Some thoughts on editing the latest incarnation in the Best Canadian Poetry series, including a list of contributors and "notable" poems.

November 2019: Photographing a black hole: Adrienne Gruber and Elizabeth Ross in Conversation

In the spirit of What the Poets Are Doing, I paired up two amazing poets who recently published books on childbirth and motherhood. The result was a lot of fun!

2020 will be my first year since 2015 without a book being published. Hopefully that will mean more blog shenanigans (though it will likely just mean more baby and pre-K shenanigans). I'll be back working with Read Local in 2020, and hope to break my interview record yet again (you can read all my past interviews here). Thank you to Read Local BC, EVENT and PRISM international for their ongoing support of my interviews and other online schemes.

Happy New Year, all!