Conyer Clayton

Episode 48 – Interview with Nina Jane Drystek

The Small Machine Talks

co-hosted by Amanda Earl and a.m. kozak

Episode 48: Interview with Nina Jane Drystek

Recorded on August 15, 2019, Ward 14

nina jane drystek is a poet, writer and performer based in Ottawa. her poetry has appeared in Canthius, talking about strawberries, the DUSIE: Tuesday poem, Bywords.ca, in/words, ottawater, small talk and Window Cat Press, as well as in self-published chapbooks, and chapbooks and broadsides by & co. collective, of which she is a member. #26: ‘knewro suite from simulacrum press came out this year.

she is a member of the sound poetry ensemble quatuour gualuour, and creates performances of her own. if you have ever lived in the same city as her you have likely seen her riding a red bicycle around town. you can find her @textcurious.

We talk about when Nina Jane began writing, collaborations from an early age, Canterbury High School, performance of poetry, cocktails, consignment shops, writing as a space of self-expression and time to be alone, publishing and self-publishing, chapbooks, handling rejection.

We discuss the origins of Nina Jane’s writing group and press, & Co Collective, meeting writers at In/Words’ weekly workshops, the informal nature of & Co Collective.

We talk about a forthcoming reading in Montreal, Nina Jane’s love of editing, a workshop we both took with rob mclennan and how workshops work in general. Spontaneous editing vs having the text ahead of time and the beauty of workshopping in the moment.

Nina Jane explains that she likes attending readings to hear the writers read in their own words. I ask Nina Jane about her background in theatre. She explains about her exploration of dramaturgy in grad school at Guelph, and her interest in performance. Nina Jane wrote and performed a one-person show in grade 7 about suicide.

She was interested in the performance of the scream, experimental scream therapy, nonverbal vocalization, the abrasive stuff that puts you on edge, plays about women behaving badly.

We talk about Nina Jane’s work for the Ottawa International Writers Festival as a volunteer in high school and then later as a staff member, and her own event organization, the value of conversations about writing and hearing work read aloud.

We talk about what makes for a good reading, such as a good host who is thinking about the audience experience, the difficulties of the Q and A session at the end of some readings. Amanda mentions the space created by the audience and the performer as another space.

Nina Jane talks about a poetry book that has influenced her, Aisha Sasha John’s I have to live and her work with performance and dance. As a teen, Nina Jane really liked the poetry infused novels of Francesca Lia Block, she liked writers who told stories through poetry. Amanda is frustrated by the idea of not being allowed to have characters in poetry. Nina Jane mentions an American novelist, Jesse Ball, who started out as a poet, his poems are filled with characters. We investigate the autobiographical nature of nursery rhymes.

We talk about being too distant from one’s poetry vs writing more personally.

We return to sound poetry and discuss quatuour gualuour, the sound poetry group Nina Jane’s involved in. She’s also writing her own sound poetry as someone who’s interested in writing things for performance and for multiple voices, seeing what others do with the work when they perform it.

We end with a discussion of Nina Jane’s cycling, the literary and feminist connections. We discuss a few books and ask for recommendations from listeners for poetry books about cycling. Amanda mentions the Invisible Publishing blog which has a list of such.

Links

Ward 14 https://www.instagram.com/wardfourteen

Bywords.ca https://bywords.ca/

MCNDm  a night of performance and poetry in Montreal – September 8, 2019

https://www.facebook.com/events/210287573243395/

Sheila Callaghan https://www.sheilacallaghan.com/

Ottawa International Writers Festival https://writersfestival.org/

Blue Metropolis https://bluemetropolis.org/

Aisha Sasha John – I have to live https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/537842/i-have-to-live-by-aisha-sasha-john/9780771050701/

Francesca Lia Block http://www.francescaliablock.com/

Jesse Ball https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/73835/jesse-ball

Dennis Cooley, the Bentleys https://www.uap.ualberta.ca/titles/49-9780888644701-bentleys

Yvonne Bloomer, Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur

Kate Harris, Land of Lost Borders https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/538575/lands-of-lost-borders-by-kate-harris/9780345816788

Catriona Strang, Reveries of a Solitary Biker https://talonbooks.com/books/reveries-of-a-solitary-biker

Transcontinental Race: Germany’s Fiona Kolbinger becomes first female winner of endurance race, https://www.bbc.com/sport/cycling/49248126

Invisible Publishing – Ten Books That Put One Foot In Front of the Other: https://invisiblepublishing.com/2018/10/23/books-about-walking/

Thanks to everyone for listening. Stay tuned for a new episode shortly.

Episode 46 – 4th Season Opener

The Small Machine Talks

with a.m. kozak and Amanda Earl

Episode 46, Season 4 Opener

Recorded at Occo’s Kitchen and Bar on July 30, 2019

Season 3 Highlights and Season 4 & Beyond Plans

Overview of Season 3

12 episodes

most played – 38 – Bad Nudes with Thomas Molander and Fawn Parker with 153 plays (October)

9 interviews and 3 topics episodes: Small Press Fair, Book Review, Visual Poetry

Statistics as of July 30, 2019

SEASON 3 July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 had 1,513  plays

OVERALL May 15, 2016 to July 30, 2019 had 4,122 plays

Top Played Episodes: Dalton Derkson interview – Episode 6 with 174 plays, Bad Nudes 38 with 153 plays and 9 with Sarah MacDonell with 151 plays

Highlights

Aaron talks about why he enjoys interviews and their importance for research for contemporary writers;  We mull over the idea of number of plays and ratings.

Amanda talks about craft and process, the discussion with Cameron Anstee on minimalism and ephemera, books as objects and materiality from episode 34, the opener was quite interesting. Aram Saroyan’s Complete Minimalist Poems.

The Visual Poetry episodes 41 and 42 gave us a chance to go into a bit of depth about a subject, do a little research and discuss.

Amanda also particularly enjoyed episode 43 with Danielle K.L. Gregoire was so much fun because we went all over the place and because Danielle is such a great storyteller with a sexy radio voice.

We talk about the importance of a flexible format. The balance with over and underpreparing. We talk about doing interviews without our co-host.

Plans and Dreams for Season 4 and Beyond

More episodes like A Moveable Podcast with Jennifer LoveGrove, Episode 29, poets in the wild, perhaps a pub crawl or coffee crawl episode where we meet poets at different cafes and pubs and chat with them.

Go to a particular city, such as Toronto or Montreal and set up a space for a few days with interviews with poets we haven’t had the chance to talk to yet. Doyali Islam, Canisia Lubrin, Dionne Brand, Dorothy Palmer, for example.

https://www.facebook.com/BreathingSpaceSeries/

Interview with Shery Alexander Heinis and Mailyne Morena about the BIPOC reading series they’re creating in the fall.

Interview with Christine McNair about her current manuscript, motherhood and preeclampsia.

Interviews with Jason Christie and Nina Jane Drystek.

To interview long term friends or couples. We interviewed Conyer and Nathanael Larochette in Episode 36. I have plans to visit James Moran and Anita Dolman for an interview.

Aaron talks about revisiting those who were writing together in a group some time ago and interviewing them to talk about that experience and how it influenced their writing. Example is the creative writing workshops with Seymour Mayne at U of Ottawa.

Guest hosts/curators. Decide who you want to interview.

More episodes focused on a specific theme, such as places and spaces.

A bunch of people talking about a single book, such as the podcast On the Line by Rusty Toque: http://www.therustytoque.com/on-the-line

To expand our interviews to other genres, such as the interview with Mariah Horner which focused a bit more on the theatre. Would love to add music and musicians, but that would mean paying for a SOCAN license, so maybe not.

Interviews over Skype, Youtube, Messenger.  Technical advice needed!

Panel discussions, such as a queer poetry panel, and maybe a live episode somehow.

We talk about how we figure out who to interview. Depends on poet’s interest, availability and also publishers sometimes send us books for poets coming to town. Invisible Publishing, Wolsak and Wynn, for example.

We invite suggestions for podcast episodes.

People could send us mp3s or mp4s of to 10 minutes and we’ll include them in the podcast, especially if you’re out of town and haven’t been on the podcast. Possible topics include places that you like to write at, places that appear in your poems or that you feel connected with, a poetry book or chapbook that you’ve recently enjoyed.

Aaron invites people to submit photo essays to the blog he co-runs with Justin Labelle: https://describingspace.wordpress.com/places/

Conclusion

Thanks to everyone who’s listened and shared the episodes. Thanks to those we’ve interviewed, the publishers for sending books, thanks to Charles Earl for processing and Jennifer Pederson for intros and outros. Thanks to a.m. kozak. thanks to the reading series and event organizers who make this town and others damn interesting by organizing and applying for grants and keeping these things running. thanks to poets for continuing to write engaging work that gives us something interesting to discuss.

Stay tuned for the next episode!

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