Malahat Review work-study student/editorial assistant Megan Warren talks with one of the three Long Poem Prize judges —and one of 2019's Long Poem Prize winners—about living within a poem, how the pandemic has affected their writing, and the importance of having a little space to breathe in a long poem.
MW: What are you looking for in a winning entry?
JES: This is one of those devious questions that I feel is impossible to answer, since I’m going in with no preconceived notion about what I want from a winning long poem. That being said, I do think that I want to see long poems which are more than simply long poems. Akin to the difference between the novel and the short story, I personally believe the long poem shines best when it shivers out of the usual hyper-dense structure of the poem every now and again, offering a certain texture via playing with its density that a shorter poem doesn’t generally have enough space to pull off.
I guess what I’m saying is that I personally tend to appreciate long poems that understand that their reader is on the other side of the page, and are kind enough to offer a little space to breathe here and there along the way.
Read the rest of John Elizabeth's interview on TMR's website.
Malahat Review volunteer Samuel Strathman talks with one of the three Long Poem Prize judges about the importance of rhythm, her pandemic writing projects, and poetry that makes you rethink your perceptions.
SS: What are you looking for in a winning entry?
MQ: Although I don’t have a list of criteria, I can say the poetry that excites me often involves unusual and surprising phrasing that startles me into rethinking my perceptions. However, I can be just as excited about simple, focussed language, such as you find in a poem like Lorine Niedecker’s “My friend tree.” Another element that’s important to me is rhythm. I’m intrigued by poetry that pays careful attention to rhythm, and that creates varied rhythmic landscapes. Fred Wah’s work is a good example, as is Daphne Marlatt’s.
Read the rest of Meredith's interview on TMR's website.