Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Great Canadian Writer's Craft Interview: Jordan Scott

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Jordan Scott

This spring, students from Malvern Collegiate Institute's Writer's Craft class conducted interviews with Canadian poets as part of a class project. The interviews will be posted on The Great Canadian Writer's Craft page on Open Book throughout June. In this interview, Malvern Collegiate students Liam Hines and Sean Patrick Clarey speak with Jordan Scott, author of Silt (New Star Books 2005) and Blert (Coach House Books 2008). 

Liam Hines & Sean Patrick Clarey:

Hey, this is Liam and Sean, and we’re the two students who are interviewing you for our Writer's Craft Summative. We both found your work inspiring, connective, original and just heavy in general. We want to thank you for taking time out of your day to day life and agreeing to participate in this interview, it is of immeasurable value to us as young writers.

Jordan Scott:

Jordan responds with audio recordings.


I found out that you are originally from Coquitlam, British Columbia but you finished Blert while living in Rhodes, Greece working at the International Writers and Translators Center. How many languages do you speak? How did living in Greece and working in those different languages affect your poetry?


Jordan muses on listening and foreign-language pronunciation.


I notice that you push the boundaries of the English language in most of your poetry, sometimes even creating your own words to suit your purpose — “Above us, burrow splatternite humid.” Does this come naturally to you or is this something you had to work on to perfect? Do you try to stay within the bounds of accepted language as often as possible?

Did you research any specific jargon before undertaking the writing of Blert? I noticed specifically the use of scientific names for common things like Caretta caretta (used in the passage “Valsalvas” from Blert), a species of sea-turtle. What was the research process like for this collection of work? Were you trying to achieve a desired tone or was the idea to frame common things differently?


Jordan answers the preceding two questions with discussion of fluency, “jargon tongues,” and the tactility of languages.


There seems to be a lot going on behind the beautiful prose in Silt, specifically when you are outlining Wladyslaw’s body in parts. These relationships drawing us back to the Journals of Weisia Kujawa and the mention of Wladyslaw are recurrent throughout the book. Could you elaborate on these connections? Was this a family member? Was this a case of Anthropomorphism where a person attributed to a place becomes part of the place in memory or imagination?


Jordan describes his immediate environment and how that informed the writing of Silt.


Do you consider Nostalgia a valuable energy to use and to represent in your poetry?


Jordan defines nostalgia.


Both your books Silt and Blert have been collections of poetry. Have you ever wanted to do more of a narrative driven work? Do you ever plan on doing something along those lines?


Jordan questions narrative’s linearity and societal functions.

Jordan concludes with gratitude and an invitation.

Jordan Scott is the author of Silt (New Star Books 2005) which was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and Blert (Coach House Books 2008). Blert, which explores the poetics of stuttering, was adapted into a short film for the Bravo! Network and was the subject of an online interactive documentary commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada. Jordan acted as writer in residence at the International Writers’ and Translators’ Centre in Rhodes, Greece and has lectured and performed at festivals in Norway, Slovenia, and throughout the United States.

In the fall of 2013 Coach House Books will publish his book-length collaborative photo-essay/prose poem, DECOMP (co-authored with Stephen Collis) — a meditation on ecology and poetry based the decomposition of copies of Darwin’s Origin of Species, left by Collis and Scott to decay for a year in five distinct BC ecosystems. Scott is currently researching speech dysfluencies and state interrogation techniques. He lives in Port Moody, BC with his beautiful wife and son.

Liam Hines was raised by Space Pirates and rose through their ranks at a young age to become their leader and launched an assault on Earth, only to be thwarted by Shannon and her ninja tiger allies. He has been living incognito since the destruction of his army and spends his time playing video games, reading manga and refreshing his YouTube subscription page.

Sean Patrick Clarey was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. In first grade he began an affair with the Guitar and has been playing and studying music ever since. In his adolescence his focus in life became acute, shifting to the Arts. Since, he has had his Music, and one poem published. He runs a blog and performs actively with his Band ‘Shipley Hollow’ after school hours. Sean will be pursuing a degree in music performance and furthering his artistic endeavours after his academic life concludes.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

The Great Canadian Writer's Craft

Each year, students from Malvern Collegiate Institute's Writer’s Craft class interview Canadian poets as part of a class project. The students study Canadian poetry under the collaborative tutelage of teacher John Ouzas and poet a.rawlings. We are delighted to feature the interviews on Open Book.

Go to The Great Canadian Writer's Craft’s Author Page