A short interview with Sandra Ridley

Sandra Ridley
Sandra Ridley

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? 


Re-reading the poetry of place

There's an endless construction project going on next door to us in Salthill. Traffic on the street shuts down in both directions each day for the arrival of a tractor, and the gravel for a new driveway has just been laid. Large trees have been chopped to hedge-rows. Yesterday, in the morning, a displaced bird flew into one of the exhaust tubes of our apartment, located above the kitchen cabinets. It flapped around and was quiet. Outside you can see the small black hole in the beige stucco where it must have perched in confusion or lost direction.

Talking about landscape in recent Irish poetry brings with it the slur of anti-modernism, of an unfashionable interest in loco-descriptive verse.

First reading of Sophia Le Fraga's 'W8ING 4' (5)

Emily Harnett

Emily Harnett (left) & Sophia Le Fraga

The main conceit of “W8ing 4” is that I, as a viewer, occupying the same perspective as Soph’s iPhone interlocutor, am forced to be uncool. I’m forced, in other words, into the subject position of an uncomfortable teen girl. This is not a stretch. I am no longer a teen, but I am still a girl, and young enough for coolness to be a quality of immediate concern.

Arie Galles & Jerome Rothenberg: Graffite (Complete)

        A few years ago I began to engage with the artist Arie Galles in a series of poems  to accompany three “suites” of his drawings (twenty drawings in each suite).  Now, under the title “Graffite: Three Suites after Images by Arie Galles” he has posted all sixty poems & drawings on his web site (

A reading at the Woodward Line

My first encounter with a Detroit poetry institution was the Woodward Line Poetry series, a monthly reading at the Scarab Club in Midtown curated by James Hart III and Kim Hunter. The series has been running for over 10 years, featuring poets from within and beyond Detroit.  I first attended the Woodward Line back in September, when Nathaniel Mackey opened the 2014-15 series.

The January 2015 reading featured two Detroit writers, Steve Hughes and James LaCroix, and a Windsor, Ontario writer, Gustave Morin. Snow had fallen all day, so the crowd was initially sparse.