Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Sandra Ridley

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Sandra Ridley

The WAR Series (Writers As Readers) gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Today we take a virtual tour of award-winning poet Sandra Ridley's bookshelves. From Richard Scarey's Best Word Book Ever to Old Yeller to The Merck Manual of Medical Information, the books that Sandra keeps returning to are somehow ever-present in her original, inquisitive and bold poetry, poetry that "has revealed our closest contradictions in poems where harm is exhausted in both pleasure and pain."

Sandra just launched her newest book of poems, The Counting House (BookThug) at the BookThug Fall Launch on Tuesday, October 1 at Toronto's Supermarket. It's her third full-length collection, following Fallout (Hagios Press) and Post-Apothecary (Pedlar Press).

The WAR Series, with Sandra Ridley

The first book I remember reading on my own:
Richard Scarey?s Best Word Book Ever. He made the largest worlds with the smallest words.

A book that made me cry:
I?m hesitant to admit that I haven?t yet come across one, although I do feel disturbed by scenes depicting the harm or death of non-human animals, like the classic, climatic passage of Gipson?s Old Yeller. I can?t let go of the images and most of the time won?t go back to the book.

The first adult book I read:
Tolkien?s The Lord of the Rings. This is a bit of a cheat. Tolkien wrote the trilogy for children.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Thompson?s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

The book I have re-read many times:
The Lord of the Rings.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
I?m probably not alone regarding this particular one: Anna Karenina. I?ve opened this book every summer for almost twenty years, mostly to make a close friend happy, but I?ve never been able to read past its first 20 pages — but what?s to be done? (She said to herself in despair, and found no answer.)

The book I would give my 17-year-old self, if I could:
The Merck Manual of Medical Information. Seriously. It?s been a great occupier of many dark nights and continues to be. I certainly could?ve used it when I was 17.

The best book I've read in the past six months:
Thomas Pletzinger?s Funeral for the Dog. It?s a non-linear novel involving Lua, a three-legged dog. Looking at my answer to question two, the irony here isn?t lost on me.

The book I plan on reading next:
A book somewhat randomly selected from the spring accumulation (I?m answering this in late May): Lee Smolin?s Time Reborn, Wis?awa Szymborska?s view with a grain of sand, Phyllis Webb?s Hanging Fire, Stephen Collis?s To The Barricades, Matthew Hall?s Hyaline, and Anne Blonstein?s to be continued, memory?s morning and the butterflies and the burnings. Counting three by Blonstein, odds are it will be one of hers.

A possible title for my autobiography:
Enough About Me. Let?s Talk About You.

Sandra Ridley?s first full-length collection of poetry, Fallout (Hagios Press), won the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Award for publishing, the Alfred G. Bailey prize, and was a finalist for the Ottawa Book Award. Her second book, Post-Apothecary (Pedlar Press), was short-listed for the 2012 ReLit and Archibald Lampman Awards. Also in 2012, Ridley won the International Festival of Authors? "Battle of the Bards" and was featured in The University of Toronto?s Influency Salon. Twice a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch Award for innovative poetry, Ridley is the author of two chapbooks, Rest Cure (Apt. 9 Press) and Lift (JackPine Press), for which she was co-recipient of the bpNichol Chapbook Award.

For more information about The Counting House please visit the BookThug website.

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

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