Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

On Writing, with Angela Hibbs

Share |

Angela

April 1, 2011 -

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book, Wanton.

Angela Hibbs:

Wanton came to me as a story about sibling rivalry. I exacerbated the sibling rivalry in two ways: 1. the girls are adopted, and 2. they are in poverty and have to work to earn their keep. Their value as individuals does not exist.

Their value is monetary, and the way they hate each other is shaped by that.

The opening suite of poems work with the long poem ("Wanton") in that they address concerns of loyalty and legitimacy.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

AH:

Apparently not my 12-year-old niece!

OBT:

Where do you gather your inspiration for your poetry?

AH:

Reading stuff I love; looking at photographs; reading biographies; daydreaming.

OBT:

When did you first start writing, and what did you write?

AH:

When I was five, poetry: All alone/ I found a clown/ feeling down/ with only a frown./ I gave some joy/ to that toy/ and now we play together all day.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

AH:

Good writing happens when it happens. The right concentration. Could be on a plane, could be in my usual desk. Could be poolside. Maybe the ideal writing environment is just a state of mind, so not the physical environment at all, other than being in good health.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a "Welcome to Canada" gift, what would those books be?

AH:

In the Skin of a Lion; Michael Ondaatje helped me fall in love with Toronto. Queen Rat: New and Selected Poems by Lynn Crosbie. The Pornographer's Poem by Michael Turner.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

AH:

John Goldbach's Selected Blackouts; Carolyn Smart's Hooked; Nicola Barker's Wide Open.

OBT:

What's the best advice you've received as a writer?

AH:

Part of getting good advice is having a relationship with the person who gives it to you. That necessary element is missing from anyone reading this interview, so the advice is necessarily diluted. Write for the challenges the form offers. Writing is an endurance event.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

AH:

Just keep sending. When you send things out, have another envelope ready. Expect rejection.

OBT:

What's your next project?

AH:

I'm working on poems about the seven deadly sins and how they surface in non-religious society. I'm writing about anorexia and bariatric surgery, for instance, in the Gluttony section.

Related item from our archives