Gillian Sze in Conversation
|Photo of Gillian Sze by Sofia Bohdanowicz|
SUSAN GILLIS: How did you first come to poetry?
GILLIAN SZE: Probably by accident, chance, and good timing. I think much of what I do now originates from a number of things: nursery rhymes, wisdom spouted by my parents in Chinese idioms, the sound of flipping pages, the smell of winter in my backyard, good penmanship, letter-writing, journaling, and reading.
SG: Is it fair to think of your work in terms of appetite and persistence? What role do these play in your work?
GS: Appetite, for sure – and quite literally in my last book where there’s an intense focus on food and eating. More broadly, I think appetite and persistence is a productive way of thinking about art, poetry, and creation. The appetite to understand, to express, to communicate and the dogged persistence to get it right, and to get it out there in the world. I hope always to be hungry. Anne Carson said it best when she wrote: “I will do anything to avoid boredom. It is the task of a lifetime.”
GS: The changing season, particularly the light this time of year. Planting tulips. Exploring my new neighbourhood. Teaching my students the villanelle.