Episode 2 – Interview with Chris Johnson

Recorded on August 14, 2016


We grill Ottawa poet and editor, Chris Johnson about his writing, event-attending habits and motivations, posting poems on Tumblr, reasons not to break lines, his “stumbly haibun,” with references to Fred Wah’s “This Dendrite Map” and Basho’s “the Narrow Road to the Interior,” the non-fluffy stuff. He tells us the most tedious aspect of working on a literary magazine.

We discuss why and how we incorporate form into our poetry or not, and why form poems can be like doing Sudoku. Chris talks about self-publishing and zine culture, the importance of good curation for a reading series and why he reads cover poems at readings, including David UU’s The Salmon River Soliloquy, but not the fish sneezing poem.


We discuss the Sawdust Reading from July 20, which featured former Ottawa resident JC Bouchard and new Ottawa resident Sarah MacDonell. a.m. kozak talks about a theatre event by the Cellar Door Project, a site-specific theatre company in Kingston. He lists off events in Toronto and Ottawa that he did not attend, but also the Urban Legends Poetry and Pancakes spoken word event that he did attend.

Amanda talks about #CanLitPit, a live tweeting event organized by DigiWriting in which potential authors pitch their manuscripts to publishers. She discusses how to pitch a poetry manuscript to publishers. The first #CanLitPit took place on August 10 and another one is scheduled for February, 2017. Follow that hashtag.


Fall Releases


Amanda lists upcoming chapbook releases by Ottawa presses, AngelHousePress, above/ground press, phafours press; Toronto’s Anstruthers Press and London’s Baseline Press. Small Press Canada Wikipedia. Brick Books Celebration of Canadian Poetry – Micropresses.

Books: We also discuss poetry books that will be released this fall, finding all of the information from the excellent Canadian site: 49thShelf.com.

Podcast of the Month

the Rusty Toque’s new poetry podcast, On the Line  is hosted by poet and short fiction writer, Kate Sutherland. We discuss their first episode in which the participants, Kate,  Joan Guenther, Soraya Peerbaye, and Brandy Ryan conduct a close read of Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds.

Online Magazine

Amanda talks about Plenitude Magazine, which promotes and showcases literature and film by LGBTTQI writers and filmmakers.

Amanda highlights the poetry of Kai Cheng Thom and Adèle Barclay. Aaron reads the third section of Adèle’s poem “Sarah I” from the spring issue of the Fiddlehead.

Note that after the recording, we heard that Adèle won the Matrix/Pop Montreal Lit Pop Poetry Award. Congratulations, Adèle!


We discuss upcoming events in Ottawa and Toronto. Visit Bywords.ca for Ottawa literary, storytelling and spoken word events. Sign up to the Patchy Squirrel List Serve (patchysquirrel@gmail.com.) for events in Toronto.


Thanks to Chris Johnson, our first victim…er, interview subject and to Charles Earl, our sound engineer. Thanks to you for listening. Send any feedback to amanda@angelhousepress.com or contact a.m. kozak on FaceBook. Please retweet & share our podcast via social media or pony express or message in a bottle.

If you have a suggestion for a name for the podcast, please let us know. Stop us on the street, e-mail us or pull us into a corner at a reading. Better yet, buy us a beer.

Stay tuned for a new podcast episode in September.