Thursday, September 01, 2016

We Who Are About to Die: Pearl Pirie

Pearl Pirie is an editor, publisher and poet. Author of the pet radish, shrunken (BookThug, 2015) and other titles. She runs workshops in Ottawa and online and spends as much summer as she can canoeing and looking for fungi to photograph. The cat attacks her feet presumably to interject the job of cat butler shouldn’t be neglected.

Where are you now?
In my green velvet wingback. I have wanted a chair like this for years. Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness is misinformed. Money buys medicine, infrastructure, chocolate, books, roof repair, seasonal fruit, and a chair.

What are you reading?
The Essential Earthman: Henry Mitchell (First Mariner, 1981) which assures us no year is good for every plant or bad for every plant, The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde (Norton, 1978) which packs power, The World, I Guess by George Bowering (New Star, 2015) which is fascinating breadth, each chapter a complete departure in form and subject.

I’m generally spread across a dozen or more books. Also starting:1491: New Revelations of the America’s Before Columbus by Charles C Mann (Knoff, 2005), Fragments de Sofnos par Claire Rochon (Éditions du Nuroît, 2009), Aisles de taule par Éric Charlebois and Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis (Simon and Schuster, 1998).

What have you discovered lately?
Familiar is from the same root as familial. This is finally the season when honey locusts smell like honey. This site on dragonflies: and this is a good policy; no is a good word. save up your yesses so there's room to do what you want & need to.
At Çatalhöyük  archaeobotanists, Ceren Kabukcu found with a microscope that neolithic people ate acorns, tubers, seeds, lentils, pea, grasspea, hackberry, and plums, and one-grain and two-grain einkorn wheat grains and that people burnt elm, oak and juniper wood in their ovens.

Illuminating stories: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau, 2015), In Search of the Perfect Loaf: a home baker’s odyssey by Samuel Fromartz (Viking/Penguin, 2014), The immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Crown, 2010)

Where do you write?
Mostly in my home office but I scratch down ideas anywhere I am. I mostly edit at my desk. Or sprawled across the floor. I’m making time to keep office hours to make room for rest of life.

What are you working on?
Oh my, so many things. Tree reading series fall and next spring line up, grant applications, adding more to a manuscript of minimalist poems, editing a set of 30 years of breast poems (Best of the Breast too corny?) and a manuscript of tanka. Updating the mailing list for the KaDo so I don’s miss inviting anyone to the Sept haiku meeting. Tweaking a chapbook of the sex in sevens series. Letting canvas priming dry. Brainstorming designs for a fall chapbook from phafours, lining up guests for upcoming Literary Landscape and putting away stuff from teaching kids at the Carleton Creative Writing Camp. Feebly cleaning my office before stacks domino and flatten someone, like a cat. Hubby and I are considering shed plans for the firewood, canoe and kayak. Selling the words(on)pages chapbook (ongoing lack of spontaneous combustion) online, and psyching up for Fieldworks where 10 writers go out into a field and forest art exhibition and write ekphrastically and perform the poems within 3 days.

Have you anything forthcoming?
Looks like. A few months ago I’d have said no but promising leads. Shhhh. Sex in Sevens (from age 17-45). Watch

What would you rather be doing?

at 20: lightning sonnets, uncorsetted

How did you make out?

laugh at Friday’s pantomime — my clothes boxed, hidden,
my photo put in a frame to remember me when your parents came.

I was to wait outside, pace out of sight through winter drifts,
arrive some time after they settled in. greet as if we hadn’t just—

I flaked out, waited in the lobby, came upstairs doggedly,
declaring my cold walk, while sweaty and no glasses fogged.

like an English word in a French text, recognition leaps
of truth with cob-nailed soles with its two left feet.

would a latex suit do for passing through the lightning
of your mind, unseen, unstruck? near edge, heightening

to strip on the balcony in front of dark windows, wracked
at heat lightning ineffectually lighting your shirt’s back—

it catches on the nailhead of my pupil, before
rain tickles the thrumming dark on our shoulders.

No comments: