Welcome to part 2 of thecanadaproject interviews poet Jordan Scott. Scott is the 2015/2016 SFU Writer in Residence. His books include Silt (New Star 2005), blert (Coach House 2008), DECOMP (Coach House 2013) and Clearance Process (SMALL CAPS 2016). His forthcoming long poem, Night & Ox is to be published by Coach House Books in the fall of 2016. Jordan lives in Port Coquitlam, BC.
Part 1: The world of your books
Poems, poetics, self, history
RSS: In looking at the poems in all three of your books, readers and reviews often comment on your use of syntax, form, shape on the page, personal connections/moments: do these sorts of things preoccupy you at the time of inscription? Your work has garnered a fair share of critical and audience attention (I’m thinking of that list of interviews on your author profile page over at the Coach website; in particular, the jacket2 article etc.). How has this attention fed/distracted your process as a writer? Curious!
JS: I’m rarely preoccupied when I’m writing anymore. I think Silt (and maybe my next book Night & Ox) is my most honest and sincere book. I mean that in the sense that I was simply unaware that to write poetry one could be preoccupied with such things as syntax, form and shape on the page. The writing of Silt was mostly intuition and instinct. I look back at the time with great fondness, and I don’t think it’s purely innocence or something like that. I think what I’m trying to say is that there was no noise – just writing, body, my family and what I didn’t know. I lost this in Blert, which I feel is too clean and precise. I don’t want that anymore. I don’t want to create something is that entirely virtuosic and exhaustive. I don’t think I ever did.
RSS: Decomp is the result of a collaboration with the poet and fellow SFU professor, Stephen Collis: whereby you and Steve did some interesting things with C. Darwin. Can you share a bit about your process when it came to writing the poems, after you’d return to the site(s) where the, er, Darwin’s book-parts had been left?
JS: After we located the books and brought them back home, Steve and I just started writing and sharing our work. We’d edit and collaborate line-by-line. Rarely did a poem that was individually written be left intact. Steve and I went line by line for a period of a couple years until we felt alright with the poems that remained. I think it was a pure collaboration in many ways: vicious, untangled, loving and unwavering.