Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

The Fish Quill Poetry Boat Interview Series, with Gabe Foreman

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Gabe Foreman

Looking for a new and unique literary experience? Look no further than the Fish Quill Poetry Boat Tour, a series featuring six Canadian poets who embark on a reading tour via (you guessed it) canoe. The tour runs from August 4-13 with a launch in Toronto and various stops through southwestern Ontario.

Open Book is thrilled to be featuring interviews with several of the talented poets from the tour. Today we speak with Gabe Foreman, author of A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Types of People (Coach House Books), a collection that includes poetic profiles of groups such as bridesmaids, day traders and entomologists.

You can also visit Open Book's event listing for the tour. And stay tuned for more interviews with the fabulous FQPB poets!

Open Book:

Tell us why you decided to become involved with the Fish Quill Poetry Boat tour.

Gabe Foreman:

I was slated to come along for the first tour but was unable to attend in the end. Overall, I like sleeping in a tent, canoeing, getting rained on and racing to poetry readings. It seems ideal to combine them into one marathon event.


What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to this unique approach to the public reading?


I?ll probably have to wait and see. I imagine that one advantage might be that it is a novel way to travel around these days, by canoe. That will be fun. I think it will also be refreshing to spend some time on a river that I?ve seen only tiny sections of before now. On the flipside, I expect that paddling those stretches in heavy sun or dismal rain, or hail, or brimstone, will be a tiring thing to do before standing up and giving a public reading. I apologize, in advance, for my rough appearance.


What are some of your favourite memories from past readings, in this tour or others?


Several years ago, I went on an amazing reading tour road trip with friends and writers around Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The whole tour was an amazing memory. It?s great to read as part of a 'troupe' alongside writers whose work you admire.


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


I?m not sure, but probably somebody must have told me to just relax and everything will turn out fine. I doubt that this is true, but I?m fairly confident that it?s good advice.


Tell us one or two of the best outdoors/exploration/wildlife-themed books you?ve read (we?re getting in the mood for the tour!).


I enjoyed the book, Walk to New York: A Journey Out of the Wilds of Canada, by Charles Wilkins (Viking Canada, 2004). It?s the author?s account of his walking trip from Thunder Bay to New York City. (It?s been a few years since I?ve read it, but I think that the trek lasted about nine weeks.) The book is full of short anecdotes from his journey mixed with interesting tidbits on wildlife, on mortality, on the theme of walking, shards of local history, etc. It?s digressive, in the best possible way.

I?m not sure if my next book really qualifies, but Christopher Dewdney?s Predators of the Adoration seems like a great wildlife-themed book to me. The natural world is an ancient and strange, miraculous entity in those pages. It?s an inspiring read.


What are you most looking forward to about this year?s FQPB tour?


Everything. Lately I?ve been living close to downtown Montreal. I love it, but I?m looking forward to the morning when loading gear into the canoe, and paddling off to the next poetry reading, starts to feel a little ordinary.

Gabe Foreman was born in Thunder Bay. He has worked as a tree planter in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. He?s a co-founder of littlefishcartpress, and his writing has appeared in a number of literary journals, including Grain, Fiddlehead and Event. His work placed second in CV2?s two-day poem contest and a selection was shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards. Currently, he lives in Montreal, where he manages the soup kitchen at a long-established mission.

For more information about A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Types of People please visit the Coach House website.

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

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