Wednesday, August 12, 2020

TtD supplement #166 : seven questions for Amelia Does

Amelia Does is a writer and artist whose work has appeared in Cineforum Italia, Incite Journal of Experimental Media and Synoptique. Her poetry chapbook, Amsterdam, the Abba Version was published by Proper Tales Press. She is also author of a biography, Do Not Look Away: The Life of Arthur Lipsett, an absurd Novella, The Coming of Jarbina, and a children’s book, The Walking Tree and Other Stories. ameliadoes.weebly.com

Her poems “The Day The Maid Was Fired,” “Day Off” and “The Lay of the Land” appear in the twenty-sixth issue of Touch the Donkey.

Q: Tell me about the poems “The Day The Maid Was Fired,” “Day Off” and “The Lay of the Land.”

A: “The Day The Maid Was Fired”
I love humour in poetry, although it is a tricky business. When is violence funny? I suppose when it's absurd. Or happening to someone else.

“Day Off”
As in the above poem (maid) I take as subject the crisis of work and hierarchy. Day off is about living a numb, small existence and trying to be satisfied with that. But the cost or aspect of "normalcy" is an unfulfilled and unsettled mind.

“The Lay of the Land”
I was living across from a church and was considering the ham and pancake dinner advertised on the sign. That time of year, shrove tuesday, marks the anniversary of a tragedy in my family, which for some reason came out as a synagogue which had “burned to the ground.” Also when I wrote this poem I was preparing to move across Canada, with my partner who I'd only known a few months, so there was a lot of uncertainty in the air.

Q: How do these poems relate to some of the other work you’ve been doing lately?

A: I’m not sure as my poems tend to often look like a finite idea or scene. I’d like to try to write some poems that perhaps explore a subject or experience. When I start to write a poem I don’t know what I am doing and a minute later its done. So there is not much to the process, it is always a surprise to see what the subconscious wants to express.

Q: Who or what have been your models for the kinds of work you’ve been attempting? Have you any or many? You touched on this briefly, but how does a poem begin?

A: I guess my writing process is very simple, when I write a poem it just comes out as-is, as a complete form or idea. A lot easier than an interview! Writing is the one easy thing in my life!

If there were poets who I kind of strive to be like one would be Stuart Ross. I immediately felt something familiar when I read his work. My partner Tom Prime who is also a published poet, has been introducing me to the Canadian Poetry “scene,” I am also a fan of Mark Laba, Shane Book and Tom’s collaborator, Gary Barwin. I love to hear other poets read their work, it enhances the experience so much more!

Q: I’m curious: what is it about Ross’ work you found familiar? What did discovering his work allow in your own?

A: Great question, I have an answer this time! When I started to read Stuart's poems I felt a silent “permission” to write my own, like if this person can express these aspect of himself, or in this way, then poetry is friendly. It is a space I can enter. Watching Stuart and others read was the second hit of inspiration, that poetry can be fun, in fact it can be anything. An art form to be used, destroyed, enhanced, pushed, built upon, shared, meditated upon and more. bill bissett, bpNichol and Gary Barwin also had this effect on me and many others.

Q: With a couple of titles under your belt, including your poetry chapbook with Proper Tales Press, how do you feel your work has developed? Where do you see your work heading?

A: I’d like to create a more interactive poetry “experience” either in a book or performance. Recently my partner Tom Prime and I did a collaboration of his poetry and a video I made, which we debuted for LOMP, a reading series in London Ontario. I’d like to also be able to write poems that unearth old baggage and feelings I can do without! I am focused on healing presently, but I like to put fun and chance into art projects. I also started hosting a monthly creative writing group at Brown & Dickson Bookstore this year, which has since moved to Skype. It’s free and can be accessed by friending me on facebook.

Q: How was it collaborating with Tom, and what did you learn from the process? What was your take-away? Have either of you considered writing collaboratively as well?

A: Tom is his own powerhouse – we tried to collaborate with each other and Stuart Ross one night, but Tom was totally disengaged with what we were doing! (He works well with Gary Barwin.) The video in the background at our performance worked better. I learned that it is a rare day that I feel comfortable standing in front of an audience! Tom and I make terrible music videos, which seems to work well as a collaboration. They can be accessed through my website. We hope to do more this summer.

Q: You might have answered an element of this already, but who do you read to reenergize your own work? What particular works can’t you help but return to?

A: I am fairly new to the Poetic World, I am open to suggestions! I do like the short stories of Rebecca Fishow and am just getting into the poetry of Harryette Mullen and Sabrina Orah Mark.

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