The art of writing #34 : Razielle Aigen

How did you first come to poetry? / How does a poem begin?

I’ve taken the liberty of grouping these first two questions because I would go about answering them both in a similar way: that is, with the idea that the space/plane of poetry is somewhat of a continuum, with no definitive beginning or end.

In some sense, Poetry has always just been there for me, there was no moment, or event of it’s arrival of into my life. As an analogue to this notion, the Poem doesn’t truly have a proper beginning as such, rather, a poem eventually gains a certain sense of becoming an entity unto itself through a process of myosis, in which it splinters off from the massive word-heap of impressions, emotions, sensations, descriptions of the Life and stands apart in intelligibility, yet remains of the same substance as Everything else.

How did publishing your first chapbook change your writing?

It didn’t change my writing per se, rather, it did present a new sense of connection to the vibrant literary community of above/ground press authors, of which I’m excited to be a part.

Now that youve published a first chapbook, how are you finding the process of learning how to put together a manuscript? What have the challenges been?

The challenge for me always lies in the question of inclusion/exclusion when thinking about the narrative arch generated by a collection of poems. I tend to ask myself, How will this grouping of poems tell a story? What is the mood I want to generate? Is the collection meant to be a sum total of all it’s constituent parts? Is there merit in going with an I Ching or  “Throw of the Dice” antics of chance; garnering a smattering of seemingly unrelated poems and seeing if, by virtue of proximity and juxtaposition, something interesting happens…

Have you a daily schedule by which you work, or are you working to fit this in between other activities?

No fixed schedule. A little bit every day. Some days a little bit more than others, depending on time/situation and general vibe of things. Circling back to the first questions, in some relevant ways writing is not separate from everyday life; even if the ink is not flowing across the page that day, writing is always already happening ~ just by simply being.

What are your favourite print or online literary journals?

It would be almost impossible to single out any one journal…I’m always awed by the infinite plethora of fine journals out there; ones that have been around for decades and newer ones that are springing up thanks to the wonderful accessibility and democratizing platform of on-line publication.

Who are some of the writers you are reading lately that most excite you?

I’ve been rereading Shakespeare lately, with newfound and deepened appreciation for the genius of his craft. Taken up again after so many years, it seems, Why, this cannot be the selfsame Shakespeare I read in high school!

Razielle Aigen is a Montreal-born writer and artist. She is author of the chapbook, Light Waves The Leaves (above/ground press 2020). Her poems appear in Entropy, Deluge, Contemporary Verse 2, Ghost City Press, Train: a poetry journal, Bad Dog Review, The Anti-Languorous Project, Talking About Strawberries all of the Time, and elsewhere. Razielle holds a B.A. in History and Contemporary Studies from Dalhousie/Kings University, and is an alumna of The Writers Studio at Simon Fraser University. More of Razielles work can be found at and through Twitter @ohthepoetry

A selection of her poems appeared in the third issue.