As part of Red Alder Review‘s Open Mic series – Q&A and poem from df parizeau.
Red Alder Review (RA): How do you normally connect to the poetry/literary community?
df parizeau (df): I’m a bookseller at Iron Dog Books, which is my most immediate, day-to-day connection. Normally, a part of this would involve helping to coordinate and host author events, like book launches, which is something I did at my previous job at Book Warehouse Main St. I’d also be attending literary events as much as possible; it’s hard to beat listening to an author read their work. I’m also moderately active on social media, which is obviously part of what’s getting me through our current situation.
RA: What is the most memorable poetry event or Open Mic you attended in-person?
df: It’s impossible to pick just one! I’ll never forget Witching Hour at Verses 2018 that featured jaye simpson and the triple-launch of books by Ellie Sawatzky, Joelle Barron, and Alessandra Naccarato—plus an appearance by Adèle Barclay who channeled Baba Yaga for the evening. In early 2019, I was so lucky to be able to host Matt Rader and Elee Kraljii Gardiner for the launch of Matt’s book, Visual Inspection. I was also immensely grateful to be able to provide the space for the launches of Rhea Tregebov’s Rue des Rosiers and Heather Jessup’s This is Not a Hoax and marvelled at how many people we were able to cram into Book Warehouse, to celebrate those two extraordinary individuals and their books.
RA: Who are the poets who most influence you?
df: I feel like I could fill an entire encyclopedia answering this! I read a lot—it comes with the territory of being a bookseller and so many talented folks inspire me to investigate the way language works and what it can communicate. Lately, I keep coming back to Matthew Walsh, Kayla Czaga, Curtis Leblanc, and Dina Del Bucchia; I marvel at the way these poets examine contemporary life and draw such raw emotion from it. I am forever in awe of Elee Kraljii Gardiner; not just for the way she manipulates language, but the work she does fostering community. And there’s no way I can leave off without mentioning Erin Kirsh, who writes searing poetry *and* keeps me on track with my writing and submissions.
RA: Whose work are you most excited about reading in the months to come?
df: After some distributor delays, we finally got copies of John Elizabeth Stintzi’s Junebat at the shop. I’m currently reading their novel Vanishing Monuments and it is only heightening my anticipation. I currently have Gwen Benaway’s Day/Break, Kim Hyesoon’s Autobiography of Death, and David Ly’s Mythical Man on my “To Read” shelf, as well. I’m also really pumped for some “to be released” titles from jaye simpson, Ellie Sawatzky, and Tara Borin.
RA: How has the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic affected your writing practice?
df: I feel as though I’ve been far more productive recently, though I’m not sure if that’s a result of having more time due to the pandemic or if it’s a natural peak period for me. I admittedly have a very erratic writing practice that swings wildly from hyper-productive to “I’m okay if I never write again”. I do feel as though the pandemic has made me a lot more self-aware of when I’m not writing/submitting, because I overall have more time on my hands.
RA: What are you working on right now?
df: I have a project on the go that’s part memoir, part poetic investigation. Most of my work over the last 2 years has focused on the way we conceptualize and memorialize our lives and the people in them. This project imagines the body has an archive for memories and nostalgia, where each body part is connected to a narrative or image. There’s some more conventional looking poems, some flash non-fiction, and some more experimental work, so far. I think the thing I’m trying to dig my hands into is that it’s easy for us to place a memory via a taste, sound, or smell, but what about that click in our shoulder or the dull ache we feel in our back in the morning?
RA: Do you have any new work forthcoming (in journals, chapbooks, collections, anthologies, etc.)?
I do! Funicular Magazine, Chapter House Journal, and Rejection Letters will all be featuring some of my work at varying points over the next few months.
df parizeau is a Pushcart nominated multi-disciplinary writer who still has all of his wisdom teeth. You are more likely to find him eavesdropping than working on his craft. Despite his aptitude for procrastination, df’s work has been featured online and in print, by publications such as Thin Air Magazine, Soundest, and Open Minds Quarterly. A bookseller by day, df chronicles his favourite Ex Libris inscriptions on Instagram @ex.ex.libris. You can also find him on Twitter @belowtheeaves and at dfparizeau.com