Ask a Longlister: Who Do You Write Your Poems For?

We asked the poets longlisted for the 2021 Book Awards some questions about their writing lives, inspirations and -of course – poetry. Read on for their thoughts and stay tuned as we reveal more questions and responses from our esteemed 2021 Book Awards Poets up until the winner’s announcement on May 6, 2021.

Who do you write your poems for?

 

Lisa Richter

“I don’t write poems with any particular person or group of people in mind, but I certainly write poems *because* of them, and perhaps echoes of their voices inflect what I write. Some of those influences include (but are not limited to): Antoine de St-Exupéry, Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), The Big Chill soundtrack (all that Motown!), Leonard Cohen, Salvador Dalí, and my mother.”

Lisa Richter’s Nautilus and Bone (Frontenac House, 2020) is longlisted for the 2021 Raymond Souster Award.

 

Yusuf Saadi

“Mostly for myself and God.”

Yusuf Saadi’s Pluviophile (Nightwood Editions, 2020) is longlisted for the 2021 Gerald Lampert Award.

 

Jennifer Hosein

“I write my poems for people who have experienced the moments lived in my poems to give them comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone, as well to share the experiences to help others understand.”

Jennifer Hosein’s A Map of Rain Days (Guernica Editions, 2020) is longlisted for the 2021 Pat Lowther Memorial Award.

 

Jessica Moore

“I think I write my poems for my most admired authors. And readers. And for the small person inside the wave of the grown person.”

Jessica Moore’s The Whole Singing Ocean (Nightwood Editions, 2020) is longlisted for the 2021 Raymond Souster Award.

 

Tamar Rubin

“Human beings.”

Tamar Rubin’s Tablet Fragments (Signature Editions, 2020) is longlisted for the 2021 Gerald Lampert Award.

 

Joel Robert Ferguson

“I write poetry as a way to try and communicate with the poems I love as a reader, to explore and perpetuate the feelings they evoke.”

Joel Robert Ferguson’s The Lost Cafeteria (Signature Editions, 2020) is longlisted for the 2021 Gerald Lampert Award.

 

Kama La Mackerel

“I write poems for the child that I was. I write poems for the children that my parents and my grandparents were. I write poems for all the children that live in us, queer and trans people of colour, who are still searching for love, searching for healing, searching for safety in this world. And I write poems for my ancestors, of course.”

Kama La Mackerel’s ZOM-FAM (Metonymy Press, 2020) is longlisted for the 2021 Gerald Lampert Award.

 

Meredith Quartermain

“Everyone who enjoys the music of language”

Meredith Quartermain’s Lullabies in the Real World (NeWest Press, 2020) is longlisted for the 2021 Raymond Souster Award.

 

Canisia Lubrin

“For whomever would like to read poems.”

Canisia Lubrin’s The Dyzgraphxst (McClelland & Stewart, 2020) is longlisted for the 2021 Raymond Souster Award and Pat Lowther Memorial Award.