Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Rob Winger

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Rob Winger

Rob Winger burst onto the Canadian poetry scene with his debut, Muybridge’s Horse, in 2007. The collection was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and the Ottawa Book Award. He's since published a second acclaimed collection, The Chimney Stone, and returns this season with Old Hat (Nightwood Editions). The three-section work plays with Canadian poetic stereotypes, from maple syrup to sprawling landscapes, while deconstructing multiple types of language, from academic speech to slang. A vibrant and brainy collection, Old Hat is anything but what its title suggests.

In Rob's responses to Proust Questionnaire, he gets playful once again with words (don't miss his favourite "occupation") and agrees with Bartleby the Scrivener when it comes to the end.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.

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Where would you like to live?
In the few moments after the first time I ever read “Ode to an Onion.”

What is your principal fault?
Addictions: TV sports highlights, my kid’s Nintendo.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Restaurant lunches.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Social awkwardness. Vulgarity. Financial ruin.

What is your favourite virtue?
Honesty.

What is your favourite occupation?
Malala Yousafzai at school, the Tianamen tank man, Ghandi on the beach, MLK at the Lincoln Memorial, Aung San Suu Kyi opening the gates…

What would you like to be?
Awake.

What is your favourite flower?
The Giving Tree.

What is your favourite bird?
A mourning dove in flight, making that sound they make.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Billy Pilgrim, Nicholas Temelcoff, Bartleby the Scrivener, Pilate Dead.

What is your favourite food?
Freshly-baked bread and Jarlsburg cheese. Or, the rice cakes at Joon’s.

What is your favourite drink?
Americano.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
Althletic genius; perfect pitch.

How do you want to die?
I would prefer not to.

What is your current state of mind?
California.

What is your motto?
Ready, fire, aim.


Rob Winger’s first book, Muybridge’s Horse, was a Globe and Mail best book, shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, Ottawa Book Award and Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and won a CBC Literary Award. His critically acclaimed second collection was The Chimney Stone.

Check out all the Proust Questionnaire interviews in our archives.

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