Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Susan, a lesson in awesomeness (part 8)

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I can't think of Sue Goyette without getting goosebumps. To me, she's always in all-caps SUE GOYETTE THE GREAT and there are trumpets that announce her name. Sublime, subtle, and always so pitch perfect that I feel despair even as I am lost in admiration within her work, Sue Goyette is everything I have ever wanted in poetry. It's crazy that she should be nice and funny to boot.

1)What makes you so awesome?

No one would agree with me in this house, but I think my dance moves and my Ping-Pong skills are worth noting.

2) What inspires you to write when you’re feeling stuck?

That it’s all right to write badly. That it’s all right not to be brilliant. That it’s okay to feel like I know nothing.

3) What fascinates you?

People. Animals. And how we interact with each other. Words. And how we use them. The ocean. And how we face it. How we use stories to pave our way through wilderness as a way of navigating and understanding the inexplicable. Humour and what makes us laugh. And why laughing is so important. How we dress. The dichotomy between what we say and how we hold our bodies. Things that live on the ocean floor. Pina Bausch. Marina Abramovic. Trees. Karaoke. Wallace Stevens. Rilke. Louise Bogan. Alice Notley.

4) What poem do you wish you had written? Why?

I wish I’d written something by Lorca to experience the stretch he must have felt writing it, the stretch and the leap, the pirouette into the unexpected word or phrase he so often lands on; the way he pushes the idea of language over the duende that’s below his words like a riptide. I want a teaspoon of his metaphorical swagger. His sashay and his exit.

5) What do you wish you had known when you started writing?

That the authentic is worth its weight in gold.

6) What’s your best joke?

My best punch lines are:

Nice belt!

But you diddle with one sheep….

It was tense.

Meta-phors be with you!

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Sarah Tsiang

Sarah Tsiang is the author of A Flock of Shoes (Annick Press, 2010), Sweet Devilry (Oolichan Books, 2011), Dogs Don’t Eat Jam and Other Things Big Kids Know (Annick Press, 2011) and Warriors and Wailers: 100 Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled (Annick Press, 2012). Her latest picture book, Stone Hatchlings, will be released in fall, 2012.

Go to Sarah Tsiang’s Author Page