Q & A Writing Process - A Blog Tour

What am I working on?

Rabbit Punch!, my second collection of poetry with DC Books just dropped at the beginning of May 2014, so I'm still processing the fallout from that. Getting a book ready has actually been mentally exhausting, on top of a whole other slew of things going on, so right now I'm doing my best to recharge my batteries and read, read, read. There are some books by local Montreal authors that are piled up next to my bedside table that I'm really excited about reading: Fire and Sage by Moe Clark, Waiting for the Man by Arjun Basu, Peeling Rambutan by Gillian Sze, New Tab by Guillaume Morrisette, and I Am Here by Ashley Opheim. I just finished reading Jay Winston Ritchie's new book, the awesomely titled How to Appear Perfectly Indifferent While Crying and it is one of my new favourite things. My work right now is to feed my brain with fodder so I can write later.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

You know that goofy line from the trailer for the movie Hellboy: "In the absence of light, darkness prevails." I'd like to think that my poetry provides a little bit of lightness in the dark; I'm the night light of poetry.

Why do I write what I do?

Poetry is a mystery that I'm constantly trying to make sense of like how they get the caramel into a Caramilk bar or how come Patrick Stewart doesn't age. I write poetry to play with words. I write poetry to challenge what people consider poetry to be. I write poetry because of people who say I should be doing anything else but write poetry. I write poetry to make sense of the odd deep sea fish that bounce around inside my skull. I write poetry because the first poetry workshop I ever did was with David McGimpsey at Concordia University and I saw the type of work that he did, his contagious enthusiasm for poetry, his deep seriousness for the art form despite all the funny, and it made me and continues to make me want to learn everything I can about the art of poetry.

How does your writing process work?

I write when I can. I don't have a regular writing process or schedule. I embrace the chaos. More often than not, I write after my two kids and wife are asleep. When I hear the hum of the dishwasher and it's dark, then I know it's time to write.


A big thank you to Gillian Sze for 'tagging me' and inviting me to participate in the blog tour. Read her post here.

Next up: Jay Winston Ritchie and Ashley Opheim.

Jay Winston Ritchie is the author of Something You Were, Might Have Been, or Have Come to Represent (Insomniac Press, 2014). How to Remain Perfectly Indifferent While Crying on the Inside is his first book of poetry. He is the editor in chief at The Void and a shortlister of the LitPop award (2012) for his fiction. He lives in Montréal.

Ashley Opheim (Ashley Obscura) is the author of the poetry collection I Am Here. She lives in Montreal, where she is the founding editor of Metatron and co-director of the reading series This Is Happening Whether You Like It Or Not.


DC Books Spring Launch, Blue Met, 7:30pm, May 1, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014 @ 7:30pm
Salon du Jardin, Hotel 10, 10 Sherbrooke West, Montreal, QC H2X 4C9

DC Books will launch five new titles at the Blue Metropolis Festival this spring, including All I Can Say For Sure by John McAuley and Rabbit Punch! by Greg Santos. Please join us for readings and refreshments.

See the Facebook event page for the DC Books 2014 Spring Launch here.



I've had to take a break from Ouliposting but hopefully I'll be back in the game again soon. In the meantime, The Found Poetry Review has compiled a "halftime report" of the Oulipost Project. Thank you to Doug Luman for the shout-out. Check out all the cool work that everyone's been doing!




(Image credit: http://jakndaxta.deviantart.com/art/Starry-YOLO-346735549)


Work strong
to rock world.

For our world
too short.

Sources: Front page of The Montreal Gazette. 11th April, 2014.
Kennedy, Mark. "'This comes as an unexpected shock':PM from The Montreal Gazette. 11th April, 2014. A8 section.
Method: A univocalic text is one written with a single vowel. It is consequently a lipogram in all the other vowels. If he had been univocally minded, Hamlet might have exclaimed, “Be? Never be? Perplexed quest: seek the secret!” All words used must be sourced from your newspaper. Read more poems from the comments section here.

The vowel I chose was 'o'.



I, Alien




Source: Manjoo, Farhad. "In rush to innovate, web left exposed" from The Montreal Gazette. 10th April, 2014. A3 section.
Method: This procedure requires the first word of a text to have only one letter, the second two, the third three, and so on as far as resourcefulness and inspiration allow. The first word of a snowball is normally a vowel: in English, a I or O.
From your newspaper, select a starting vowel and then continue adding words of increasing length from the same source article or passage. Challenge yourself further by only using words in order as you encounter them in the text. Read more "snowball" poems in the comments section here.

I channeled X-Files for this one. I miss Mulder and Scully...



virus threatens pork production
new U.S. ambassador feels heat

diplomat expulsions raise some eyebrows
universities unsure what future holds

tough talk

battle for control in larger cities
a century of conflict

breaking down the issues
zeroing in on Canada's zombie safety zones

solutions made for a changing world
solutions at hand to level the playing field

with divisive politics defeated,
let hope reign

hog heaven

Source: Headlines from The Montreal Gazette. 9th April, 2014.
Method: Compose a poem whose body is sourced from article headlines in your newspaper. Read more "headline" poems in the comments section here.

I imaged this poem as the synopsis for a zombie flick set in the Great White North with product placements by the pork industry, um, for some reason. And yes, "Zeroing in on Canada's Zombie Safety Zones" is a real headline.



I ram 
I arm 
I ism


I aim
I soar
I am 


I roam
I om
I am

Sources: Front page of The Montreal Gazette. 8th April, 2014.
I also used the Scrabble Word Finder to find my words.
Method: Select a name from one of your newspaper articles, famous or not. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from the letters in that person’s name. For example, if you selected “John Travolta,” you may only use words that can be made from the letters A, J, H, L, N, O, R, T and V. Read more "beau present" poems in the comments section here.

For my "beau present" poem, the name I chose was Marois, as in Pauline Marois, the newly ousted former premier of Quebec, giving me access to the letters: M, A, R, O, I, and S. 


For 33 deadbeats,
the electron camshaft

was dominated by pollutions,
pronounciations and polymaths.

Now, it is up to us
to castor our bananas.

No matter which passion you support,
make your volley heard on jabs that countermand.

Sources: Words found on front page of The Montreal Gazette. 7th April, 2014.
I also found my nouns using the N+7 generator here.
Method: Select a passage from one of your newspaper articles. Replace each noun in the passage with the seventh noun following it in the dictionary. Read more "N+7" poems in the comments section here.

Proud to have voted and to be a Quebecer on this historic day.