Sandra Ridley is the author of three books of poetry: Fallout (Hagios Press), Post-Apothecary (Pedlar Press), and most recently, The Counting House (BookThug). She has taught poetry at Carleton University and has mentored poets through Ottawa’s Salus and Artswell’s “Footprints to Recovery” program for people living with mental illness. Sandra has also facilitated poetry workshops for the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Public Library, and the Tree Reading series. She knows how to use a compass.
Q: Your work tends to favour the extended sequence, often utilizing extended lyric stretches, and avoiding individual, stand-alone poems. What is it about the sequence that appeals? Are all your poems in conversation with one another?
Pearl Pirie has been one of the most active and engaged poets in Ottawa for at least a decade, from her enormous productivity as a writer, performer, reviewer, blogger, editor, radio host, workshop facilitator, food columnist and small press publisher, to irregularly hosting salon workshops and readings in the house she shares with her partner of twenty-three years, the designer Brian Pirie. Through her growing handful of books and chapbooks, what appeals about Pirie’s work is the way in which sound, mashed words and an unhindered sequence of meanings manage to propel across the page.
Sandra Ridley grew up in Saskatchewan and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario, where she facilitates poetry workshops at Carleton University, the Tree Reading Series, the Ottawa Public Library, and the City of Ottawa. Her first book of poetry, Fallout, was a finalist for the 2011 Ottawa Book Award and won the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Award for Publishing. Her second book Post-Apothecary was a finalist for the ReLit and Archibald Lampman Awards.
In French, the word for experiment is expérience, and thus the idea of carrying out an experiment is closely linked with the idea of undergoing an experience. So one may wonder as to what kind of experiments are going on around poetry that help foster not only the poetry itself but also help others experience it. In Canada, some of the more daring and current essays/essais in poetic publishing, poetic mentoring and poetic diffusion include BookThug and The Toronto New School of Writing, Le Quartanier in Montreal, No press in Calgary and Nomados Press in Vancouver.
Run out of Toronto, BookThug is a restless thug! Poet and collaborator Jay MillAr began publishing chapbooks in 1992, under the name Boondoggle Books and eleven years later, transformed Boondoggle Books into BookThug, publishing (and at times re-issuing) tradebooks, chapbooks and other ephemera of poetry, fiction, essays and Danish literature in translation, with a vision to enrich and evolve the tradition and conversation of experimental literature.