Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Word on the Street Interview Series: Andrew Faulkner

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Andrew Faulkner

It’s less than a week until Toronto’s favourite one-day literary festival, The Word on the Street. With readings by some of the country's finest writers in every genre, amazing and interactive children's programming and a marketplace populated by publishers of all your favourite books and magazines, The Word on the Street is a highlight of the literary calendar and a great community celebration of the love of reading.

For today’s edition of The Word on the Street interview series, we welcome Andrew Faulker, whose collection Need Machine has been called “the [book] that makes poetry good again” and “simply too damn good”.

Andrew tells us about driving in Al Purdy country, what makes a great reading and a parking garage that leaves an impression.

Andrew will be reading in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario tent at the Toronto The Word on the Street festival on September 22 at 3:00 p.m. The Word on the Street will also take place in Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Halifax on September 22 and on September 21 in Kitchener.

And book lovers, don't miss our exciting contests in partnership with The Word on the Street — you can enter now for a chance to win a set of fantastic young adult books and passes to the Ontario Science Centre!

Open Book:

Tell us about what you’ll be reading in the Vibrant Voices tent.

Andrew Faulkner:

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll read. I do have a poem about Toronto though, and given that I’m moving out of the city the following weekend, I think I might have to bring that one out for a spin.


Have you attended The Word on the Street in the past? If so, tell us about a favourite memory. If not, what are you most looking forward to?


One of my favourrite things about The Word on the Street is that it’s a wonderful opportunity to discover new books and authors. My first introduction to the work of Ursula Franklin was through buying a copy of The Real World of Technology there a few years ago. That made it a very good day.


The Vibrant Voices tent celebrates Ontario authored and published books. Tell us about a favourite Ontario author or book.


Since I began reading poetry, Al Purdy has always stood out to me as a particularly vibrant voice. His poems are deeply rooted in Ontario’s particularities and shine a light on both geographic and, I think, social territory that doesn’t get covered near as much in other Ontario literature. They’re not quite landscape poems, not quite work poems, but it is certainly hard to drive along Highway 7 without coming across loose threads of places and people that are tied at the other end in a Purdy poem.


What’s the best advice about public readings you have ever received?


I don’t exactly love giving readings, and the best advice I’ve received is that it doesn’t matter how I feel about it. Whether I’m nervous, excited, ambivalent — it doesn’t matter. I still have a job to do, which is to give proper voice to the work and entertain the audience, which in the end is what readings are about.


Word on the Street is happening simultaneously in Toronto, Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Halifax on September 22 this year (as well as in Kitchener on September 21). If you could be in two places at once, which WOTS festival, in addition to Toronto, would you attend?


Halifax in the fall? Holler!


Do you have a favourite spot in Ontario?


I have a number of favourite spots in Ontario — my grandparents’ old backyard, section 514 of the Skydome — but I’m quite fond of a parking garage in the Byward Market in Ottawa. You can climb onto its roof to get a really great view of the city and the river.


What can you tell us about your next project?


Is a project a project before it starts? How you answer that is exactly everything there is to know about my next project.

Andrew Faulkner co-curates The Emergency Response Unit, a chapbook press. His poems have been published in The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2011, and his chapbook Useful Knots and How to Tie Them was shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award. He lives in Toronto.

For more information about Need Machine please visit the Coach House Books website.

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

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