25th Trillium Award

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Lonely As a Cloud, with Leigh Kotsilidis of Fish Quill Poetry Boat

The Fish Quill Poetry Boat are paddling their canoes down the Grand River once again, giving poetry readings and musical performances at cafes, farmers' markets and bookstores during the ten days of their adventurous tour from Elora to Six Nations. This year's poets are Linda Besner, Leigh Kotsilidis, David Seymour, Gillian Savigny and Stewart Cole, as well as musician Grey Kingdom. They kicked their tour off with a reading at Toronto's Tranzac Club on Thursday, June 13. Since then, they've read and camped in Elora, West Montrose and Kitchener-Waterloo. You can catch up with them on Wednesday, June 19th in Cambridge. Visit our Events page for details. Later, they'll hit Paris, Brantford and Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

These intrepid voyageurs have a special perspective on the writing life. To find out more about these paddling poets, we'll follow their lead as they drift down the Grand. Today, Leigh Kotsilidis tells us about her book, Hypotheticals (Coach House Books), which challenges our notions about what we think we know with "a beautiful recklessness."

Open Book:

Tell us about the book you'll be reading from during the Fish Quill Poetry Boat Tour.

Leigh Kotsilidis:

I?ll be reading from my book Hypotheticals, which came out in 2011 with Coach House Books. Without trying to sound too abstract, this collection of poems is about how it is we think we know anything at all. It?s an attempt to undermine our faith in ideas we may feel certain about, which in this day and age tend to be ready explanations of the world governed by the sciences.


Where did you compose most of these poems?


These poems were composed in farmers? fields and cedar forests of the Kawarthas, among mountain vistas of Banff, and along cobblestone streets of Montreal.


How has travel (near or far) influenced you as a writer?


I think that travelling gives rise to a state of openness, which generates new perspectives, ideas and language to work with. For me, travel is about expanding my repertoire.


If you could go anywhere in Canada to research or write, where would you go and why?


I think I?d go back to Newfoundland. I was there last year for a week to write and edit, I found it super inspiring. It?s truly a magical place. Perhaps it?s all that fog and rock — it?s like alchemy! However, I never did make it up to Fogo. I?d definitely like to go there if there?s a next time.


Can you recommend a great book to be read "on the road"?


Hmm, maybe The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It seems to exemplify what we gain from being ?on the road,? both figuratively and literally.

Leigh Kotsilidis grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Her poems have appeared in several literary journals and Canadian anthologies. In 2009 and 2010 she was selected as a finalist for the CBC Literary Awards. She is also co-founder of littlefishcartpress. Hypotheticals, her first full length poetry collection, was published by Coach House Books in the Fall of 2011. She currently lives in Montreal where she works as a freelance graphic designer.

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

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

Find out more about the Fish Quill Poetry Boat on their Facebook page.


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