Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions (Trillium Finalists Series) with Kevin Connolly

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Ten Questions (Trillium Finalists Series) with Kevin Connolly

Kevin Connolly is a Toronto poet, editor and arts journalist. Connolly's first collection of poems, Asphalt Cigar, was nominated for the 1996 Gerald Lampert Award. His second collection, Happyland, was published to wide acclaim in 2002 and his collection, drift, won the 2006 Trillium Book Award for Poetry. His collection, Revolver (House of Anansi Press, 2008), has been nominated for the 2009 Trillium Book Award.

Enter Open Book's June contest to win an Ontario Authors Prizepack that includes the nine English-language Trillium-nominated books.

OBT:

First, a huge congrats on being a Finalist for the 22nd Annual Trillium Book Awards! Could you tell us about your nominated book, Revolver?

KC:

It’s a book of 45 poems, each designed to be different in tone or shape from all of the others. It’s a bit of an experiment in poetic voice or artistic ventriloquy and it’s meant to be entertaining.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote Revolver?

KC:

Well, it’s hard to think about the reader when you’re writing, but I do try to have the work be available to the mythical Interested Stranger if at all possible. That said, poets tend to write poems they’d like to read.

OBT:

What were you doing when you received news of your Trillium nomination?

KC:

I think I was dealing with my email.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

KC:

Late at night, everyone but me asleep, music on in the background. I have a lot of nervous energy, so I have to burn that off before I sit down to write.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

KC:

It was a poem published in a leaflet by Stuart Ross though his Proper Tales micropress. It was a silly poem called “A Canadian in Paris” that played off a song lyric from the Gershwin musical.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Ontario” gift, what would those books be?

KC:

Tough one. I’ll just pick three off the top of my head. Christopher Dewdney’s The Natural History, Howard Akler’s The City Man, Elyse Friedman’s Then Again.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

KC:

Dean Young’s Primitive Mentor, Susan Holbrook’s unpublished book (due out in the fall) Joy Is So Exhausting.

OBT:

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

KC:

Just that writing is as much a question of temperament as anything else. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you can’t handle failure you’re doomed.

OBT:

What is your next project?

KC:

I’m thinking about writing a play. But I’ve been thinking about that for a while.

OBT:

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

KC:

Write something worth publishing. Publishing as an end in itself is a mistake.



Read more about Revolver at the Anansi website.

For more information on the Trillium Book Award, go to the Ontario Media Development Corporation's website.

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