Tree

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 47: Interview with Anita Dolman and James K. Moran

Poet, editor and writer Anita Dolman is the author of Lost Enough: A collection of short stories (Morning Rain Publishing, 2017), and co-editor of Motherhood in Precarious Times (Demeter Press, 2018), an international anthology of poetry and non-fiction. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, including Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology, Canadian Ginger, Hamilton Arts & Letters, Arc Poetry Magazine, On Spec, Grain, PRISM international, The Antigonish Review, and Triangulation: Lost Voices. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, and was a finalist for the 2015 Alberta Magazine Award for fiction. Dolman is a contributing editor for Arc Poetry Magazine, and was interim Arts editor for This Magazine’s upcoming September issue.

Ottawa author James K. Moran’s speculative fiction and poetry have appeared in Canadian, American and British publications including Icarus, On Spec and Glitterwolf. His poetry recently appeared in Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology (Mansfield Press) and Bywords,ca. Moran’s articles have appeared via CBC Radio, Daily Xtra and Rue Morgue. 

In 2012, he founded the Little Workshop of Horrors, an Ottawa-based writers’ group that carves speculative and literary work into the shape it is meant to be. Moran also runs Queer Speculations, a writers’ group that workshops queer-themed stories from far and wide. Town & Train (Lethe Press, 2014) is Moran’s debut horror novel. He blogs at jameskmoran.blogspot.ca. Right now, he is likely at work, editing his second horror novel.

We talk about James and Anita’s first meeting, their relationship to each other’s writing and how it has evolved over the years, balance between writing, making money and child raising, the benefits of both being writers, dealing with rejections, procrastination, the writing life, doing readings together,  the arbitrary labelling of genre vs. literature, being open to genre, writing speculative fiction, featuring at writers’ conferences, ego. I ask for advice for other couples who are writers and James suggests it’s best to know each other as writers first, the importance of being honest with one another and not taking criticism personally. Anita talks about the competition for writers due to the grant system, the scarcity model of industries like writing.

We talk about books and reading, mutual and different interests. We talk about how their son relates to them as writers and about his love of reading and the books James and Anita passed on to him because of their own love for the books when they were his age.

I ask whether either one of them write speculative stuff into their poetry. I ask about their current projects.

Links

Confluence – http://parsec-sff.org/confluence/

Dorothea Brande – Becoming A Writer https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/349430/becoming-a-writer-by-dorothea-brande/9780874771640/

Arc Poetry Magazine: http://arcpoetry.ca/

World of Tea https://www.world-of-tea.ca/

Amber Dawn http://www.amberdawnwrites.com/

The Word Balloon Podcast http://wordballoon.blogspot.com/

Cornwall & Area Pop Event https://cornwallpopevent.com/

Thanks to Anita and James, to Charles for processing the episode, for Jennifer Pederson for the intro and outro and to you for listening. Please share the link to the episode. Stay tuned for a new episode soon!

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