Writer in Residence 2011
Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of three collections of poetry, Curio (BookThug, 2005), Home of Sudden Service (Nightwood Editions, 2006), and God of Missed Connections (Nightwood Editions, 2009).
Her work has been nominated for awards including the Pat Lowther Award (2010), the Kobzar Literary Award (2010), The George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature (2010), and the Governor General's Award for Poetry (2006). Her poetry has appeared in literary journals, anthologies, and on film in Canada, the United States, France, Ireland, England, China, and Lebanon. She lives in Vancouver where she is an instructor of creative writing and Editor of Event magazine.
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An Interview with Elizabeth Bachinsky
Q: Elizabeth, what is so special about poetry that you wanted to become a poet?
Liz: I have been writing and reading poetry since I was a child. I think I was drawn to the craft at first because early on I was a singer and a musician. Poetry shares a lot of characteristics with music, especially vocal music. I think that’s why I was drawn to the act of writing it. My mom also took us to the public library in Prince George a lot when my family was living up there in the 80s. Reading was a big part of my life as I grew up and still continues to be. When I was a teenager living in Maple Ridge, I discovered the poetry of Lorna Crozier, Patrick Lane, and bill bissett at the public library—that changed the way I saw poetry too. Suddenly poetry was something living people made. I thought: I can do that too.
Q: What is the most valuable piece of advice you've been given that has helped you as a writer?
Liz: “Lower your expectations.” This came from poet David Zeiroth when he was my writing teacher at Douglas College when I first started seriously studying and writing poetry in my early twenties. He didn’t mean for us to write badly—although of course we all did! He meant for us to give ourselves permission to write no matter how “bad” we might think that writing might be. Zeiroth meant for us to avoid being perfectionists. If we only ever give ourselves permission to be perfect, we might never write anything at all. This also emphasized the importance of revision, which is always an important process for me. Zeiroth, like Natalie Goldberg, taught me that there is no good or bad writing, there’s just writing. Goldberg says, “Shut up and write!” That’s good advice too.
Rex Weyler 2013 Writer in Residence
Ansoh Irani 2012 Writer in Residence