25th Trillium Award

The Dirty Dozen, with Catherine Owen

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Catherine Owen

The fearless Catherine Owen delves into the influences behind her writing in her new collection of essays, Catalysts: Confrontations with the muse.

Today Catherine takes on the Open Book Dirty Dozen, which gives authors the chance to share 12 unexpected facts about themselves. Catherine chats about metal music, how she spends a lot of time scavenging by the Fraser River and her love of peanut butter.

On May 3, Catherine will be in Hamilton participating in Poetry in the Park for an evening of book readings and signings with poets Moez Surani, John Terpstra and Oana Avasilichioaei.

  1. My mother was a nun and nurse prior to my birth; my father continues to be a philosopher-truckdriving-punmeister-builder of sundry things.
  2. I can't abide my middle name.
  3. I've been into metal music since I was twelve years old and have been the bassist/lyricist in three metal projects now: Inhuman, Helgrind and Medea. I've also written songs for Murderrage, Hoarfrost and the pagan eco-musical Awakening the Green Man. And once, I played the agogo in a samba band.
  4. Before I was born my womb-moniker was Eggbert.
  5. I learned to read at three and wrote my first poem by four; it was about trees, the city and my personal aesthetic philosophy in general.
  6. My favorite film is Maelstrom. It's from Montreal and stars a talking fish on a chopping block, a woman who has just had an abortion then, a car accident and it features a soundtrack by Tom Waits.
  7. I was the only active Canadian member of the Robinson Jeffers association. After I wrote my Masters thesis on him, I was invited to his home, Tor House, in Carmel to give a reading where I climbed to the top of Hawk Tower, recited his sonnet "Return" and proceeded to weep.
  8. I spend a lot of time scavenging by the Fraser River for rusty stuff, mostly detritus from the knocked down mill. I then curate these findings on my patio-wide Museum of Ruins.
  9. My hobbies include: self-portrait and still life photography, pilates and weights, cat-wrestling, playing percussion instruments, research-based travel, wine tasting and Muse-chasing. Though I've slowed down on the latter considerably.
  10. I've done a range of shoots as an art-model, including posing in chicken wire, covered in blood and seaweed and on a beach in freezing rain wearing only silky lingerie and later, a body bag.
  11. For Circe and Cougars and Double Baby, multimedia shows in 2004 and 2008, I performed 20 minute one-woman presentations with props: busted Barbies, a ladder, my mother's wedding dress covered in safety pins.
  12. I love peanut butter with a passion. Marmite's good too.

Catherine Owen is a Vancouver writer. She?s published seven previous collections of poetry. Her poetry collection Frenzy won the Alberta Literary Award for 2009 while The Wrecks of Eden was shortlisted for the BC Book Prize in 2002. Her first compilation of essays and memoirs, is Catalysts. She also plays bass in the metal band Medea and works as a freelance editor and tutor.

For more information about Catalysts: Confrontations with the muse please visit the publisher's website.

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

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