25th Trillium Award

Poets in Profile: Micheline Maylor

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Micheline Maylor

Micheline Maylor?s first collection, Full Depth: The Raymond Knister Poems (Wolsak & Wynn), was published in 2007 and praised by reviewers for its "imagistic poetics and exquisite lyricism." Originally from Windsor, Micheline now lives in Calgary, where she teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University. She has just published her latest collection, Whirr & Click, with Frontenac House.

Micheline joins the Poets in Profile series today, revealing her unlikely source of inspiration and how she deals with poems that refuse to be written.

Open Book:

Can you describe an experience that you believe contributed to your becoming a poet?

Micheline Maylor:

As Robbie Robertson says in "Somewhere Down the Crazy River": I don't know, the wind just kind of pushed me this way. I don't mean to sound mystical or flaky about it; I just don't recall it as a specific choice. I mean, who really says, I want to be a poet when I grow up? I wanted to be an opthamologist. Boy, did I take a wrong turn!


What is the first poem you remember being affected by?


"Sick" by Shel Silverstein. It did all of the things a good poem does. It relates to its reader, uses interesting lexicon, rhythms and structure. I just didn't know it at the time. I felt as if the poet knew my mind. I was ten when I heard that poem and it was a piece of magic in the day.


What one poem — from any time period — do you wish you had been the one to write?




What has been your most unlikely source of inspiration?


Cycling up hills.


What do you do with a poem that just isn't working?


Cuss at it. Ignore it. Let it die and then raid its carcass for the good bits.


What was the last book of poetry you read that really knocked your socks off?


Russell Thornton's Birds, Metals, Stones, Rain was fantastic; the visitation, the paradox or experience, it's a fine, fine work. A new one, Juleta Severson-Baker's Incarnate, is exquisite; the craft and sound in her glosas are beautiful. Those are the latest two I can say are worth a read. I am deeply looking forward to Jeffrey Donaldson's Slack Action.


What is the best thing about being a poet?and what is the worst?


The best parts are the way language comes riding its own energy in the moments of creation. The way a good line makes its way to the page in those moments of inspiration. Students, their enthusiasm. The fine skills of other poets, their varied and wild words and ways. The whole idea of human experience and expressing that in a unique way, the freedom of it, the challenge in it.

The worst part is letting that expression down by falling flat in terms of the energy of the line, diction or syntax; unsubstantiated criticism; and other poets, their varied and wild words and ways!

Micheline Maylor's latest collection is titled Whirr & Click. She teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University and is the editor of Frontenac House for 2014. She is also the editor-in-chief at Freefall Magazine. She recently won third in the Geist post-card fiction contest.

For more information about Whirr & Click please visit the Frontenac House website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore, online from the publisher or at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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