Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Poets in Profile: Michael Blouin

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Michael Blouin (photo credit: Tara Rutherford)

Open Book is celebrating National Poetry Month with daily profiles of today's "unacknowledged legislators of the world." Find out what inspires, confounds and delights the poets behind this spring's new releases by following our series.

Wore Down Trust, published this spring with Pedlar Press, is Michael Blouin's newest collection. A stiffly poured highball of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, biography and vodka, Wore Down Trust uses the rhythms and tones of the blues to dip in and out of the lives of Johnny Cash and Alden Nowlan. Publisher Beth Follett describes this book as "a postmodern postmortem of hope, aspiration and mortality, told in voices that ring from the American south and Canada's east coast, in a four bar, roadside lounge arrangement encompassing lost dreams, early morning smoke, late night lamplight and words that hang alone in the evening air."

Michael Blouin will launch Wore Down Trust at Barley Mow in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 27th. Visit our Events page for details.

Open Book:

Can you describe an experience that you believe contributed to your becoming a poet?

Michael Blouin:

Most experiences I’ve had have done that I think. I do remember a teacher in my last year of high school illustrating for us how all of literature works as an elaborate code. I think that definitely contributed to making me a writer, and an English teacher. Coming close to my own death numerous times also got me started. I have a well developed sense of the passage of time.

OB:

What is the first poem you remember being affected by?

MB:

The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (House of Anansi Press) by Michael Ondaatje. It opened up for me what poetry could achieve in scope and intent. I came late to Stilt Jack by John Thompson, which would be the poem I have most recently been affected by.

OB:

What one poem — from any time period — do you wish you had been the one to write?

MB:

None. Good or bad I really only want to write my own. There are individual lines though that I wish I had written, but often I just appropriate those (easier than lifting a whole poem!). In my new book I have lines from both Sandra Ridley and Rhonda Douglas, attributed of course. I usually attribute. Well, I do when the lifting might be noticed…

OB:

What has been your most unlikely source of inspiration?

MB:

Canadian daredevil Ken Carter. He planned to jump a modified Lincoln Continental over the St. Lawrence River in the 1970s. He will be a source for a book I plan to write (a couple of books down the line). I’ve recently learned that Canadian musician Mark Haney has released Aim for the Roses, a CD of music inspired by Carter.

OB:

What do you do with a poem that just isn't working?

MB:

Kick it until it does. If that doesn’t work lock it in a closet until it asks to come out again.

OB:

What was the last book of poetry you read that really knocked your socks off?

MB:

Recently I’ve enjoyed Fallout (Hagios Press, 2010) by Sandra Ridley and The Porcupinity of the Stars (Coach House Books, 2010) by Gary Barwin.

OB:

What is the best thing about being a poet…and what is the worst?

MB:

Having your work recognized… and having your work recognized.

Michael Blouin has been published in most Canadian literary magazines. His novel Chase and Haven (Coach House Books, 2008) won the 2009 ReLit Award for Best Novel and was a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. I’m not going to lie to you (Pedlar Press 2007) was shortlisted for the Scott-Lampman Award. Blouin has been a finalist for the CBC Literary Awards and is a past winner of the Diana Brebner Award (Arc Magazine) and the Lillian I. Found Prize for Poetry. He is represented by Westwood Creative Artists and can be found at www.wcaltd.com and at his blog.

For more information about Wore Down Trust please visit the Pedlar Press website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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