12 or 20 questions, with rob mclennan

“12 or 20 questions” are interviews with Canadian and American poets and fiction writers conducted through a series of core questions by rob mclennan, who started the series during his tenure as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta from the September 2007 to May 2008. Since then  “12 or 20 questions” has grown into a treasure-trove about poets, poetry & poetics. I’m delighted to be a part of this remarkable literary resource. An excerpt :

mclennan: Where does a poem usually begin for you?

Saklikar: Usually with a rhythmic pattern found in an arrangement of words: rarely just one word; more likely, a group of them and often this pattern of words is connected to an incident and its place.

For example, this summer,  on a Saturday out in Surrey, B.C., at a brand new public library, I saw a man rant to a security guard about the fact that there were no public pay phones in that lovely new public building. The man who needed the pay phone wore his hair in a ponytail, bruises covered his tattooed arm.  The security guard wore a turban. The more the man yelled about the library not having a public pay phone the more I looked at him. The more I looked, the more he expounded. At no point did I offer the man my cell phone, because I do not own a cell phone. The man swore. He ran out the library. Almost, I ran after him. Before he left, I started to scribble his words on paper: can’t find the paper, will keep looking—anyway, it is not the words, any longer. It is their rhythm…

Read the interview here

About rob mclennan:
The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, most recently  A (short) history of l. (BuschekBooks, 2011), grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books], 2011), Glengarry (Talonbooks, 2011), kate street (Moira, 2011) and 52 flowers (or, a perth edge) (Obvious Epiphanies, 2010), and a second novel, missing persons (2009), rob regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com.

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