Jennifer Still grew up along the tracks in a powder blue townhouse on Winnipeg’s eccentric Girdwood Crescent. Poems from her second collection Girlwood (Brick Books, 2011) were finalists in the 2008 CBC Literary Awards. An earlier version of Girlwood won first prize in the 2008 John V. Hicks manuscript awards. Jennifer now lives in a yellow house in Winnipeg with her husband and two children.
TTQ - What role do you see poetry playing in an increasingly digital world, and do you feel the e-book will ultimately take the place of the printed page?
Jennifer Still - I have this idea that poetry is going to be performed and attended more. I just feel that the decrease in our daily face to face connections, the lack of "in-time" conversation and human voice in our screened-in worlds, will call for a resurgence of literary gatherings and soirees in the performing arts--more recitation and orature. So that the experience of seeing and hearing a writer up close and present in their work--not recorded, not on a screen, but in person, responding, making eye contact even!-- will be novelty again. Saying this, I think poetry is very much supported by the digital culture of information sharing, at least in the sense of promotion, and also through the means of reviews and a sense of community and blogs such as yours. But that really can be true of any information now, so it's not particular to poetry and therefore I think the digital world can only go so far in what it might be able to do for literature. In the end there's the words and the reader--this is the experience of literature. Nothing more is needed.
As you might be able to tell I am much more aligned with the luddites than the techs, so it's not surprising that I can't see an e-reader ever being the "platform" I curl up with at the end of the day. I will do my best to keep the printed page in demand!
-an excerpt from Jennifer Still’s poem “Moth,” from Girlwood (Brick Books, Spring 2011)
in the long-term storage pilot-light flicker under the shuffleboard
mouthing the soft pound of silver weights
on felt we were good girls made of white
cakes Easy-Bakes incandescence in cherry
chip, rainbow bit, cupcake, confetti, rising
to the light under the poncho the gaucho
the panty-silk pupa a doll pencil-top-pink
rubbing the spot the spot inside fuschia
bedcovers chenille caterpillars inching the
folds inside the folds inside the mine mine
mine under the bed with flashlights in our
mouths flesh lit from the inside under
tongue under silence under moths circling
the heat the throb the filament spin of our
pudic wing flickering
eight thousand shameful ecstasies
Listen to Jennifer Still read an excerpt from her poem “Moth,” from Girlwood (Brick Books, Spring 2011)