The LitFest Blog
Q. Why do you think literature festivals are important?
A. Because they are bridges between readers and writers, and between writers and writers. Because they are a space for the storytellers and the poets. Because they say, “Language is a beautiful and an essential calling.”
Q. What was the last book you bought?
A. Gabriel: A Poem, by Edward Hirsch.
Q. Could you share with us your favourite opening line from a book?
A. I don’t like the word “favourite.” But having said that, I’ll go with the first two sentences of Albert Camus’ L’étranger:
“Aujourd’hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.”
My own translation, since I don’t have the English version: “Today, mother died. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.”
Q. Can you tell us a little about your creative process?
A. How I write is not always the same, and it has changed with time. Solitude is important for me, and so is warming up. I usually warm up by reading, stretching with some beautiful language first (sometimes this is followed by music, singing, and dancing). I tend to let the poem live inside my head for a while, then I sit down to take notes, after which I write it. Once I’ve written a poem, I let it be for a few days before I go back and revise it. Of course there are poems that take me by surprise, that seem to come out of me immediately, that I find myself writing instead of what I had intended to write, and these are usually the best ones.
Q. At the Festival, we always celebrate International Women’s Day. Which is your favourite book by a female writer and why?
A. As I’ve indicated above, I don’t like choosing favourite books, lines, authors, etc, because there are usually so many. Every book that I’ve read and has moved me is somehow my favourite. Allow me then to name four (I’m trying!): What We Carry, by Dorianne Laux, The Father, by Sharon Olds, Diaspo/Renga, by Marilyn Hacker and Deema K Shehabi, and La Vagabonde, by Colette. I’ve read some these recently, and some years ago, but I would say that they all use such beautiful, condensed language, that they are all moving, and that they all carry an authentic voice.