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Posted: Thursday June 18, 2015
Pulp Magazine Interviews Jónína Kirton

The following is extracted from Pulp magazine’s recent interview with Jónína Kirton and published on Meta-Talon with permission. Read the full interview by Carissa Kasper online or in issue #10 (Spring 2015).

Jónína Kirton

Jónína Kirton, a prairie-born Métis/Icelandic poet/author and facilitator currently lives in the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people. She graduated from SFU’s Writer’s Studio in 2007. Her first book of poetry, page as bone ~ ink as blood, was released in the Spring of 2015 with Talon Books.

Pulp: Have you always been a poet, and what brought you to writing?

Kirton: I have always had the heart of a poet/artist but I was raised in a prairie hockey family where boys ruled and any artistic leanings were not understood or supported. Once I left home I got busy with a career in banking and later in the airline industry. I did enjoy my time in these fields.

Apparently, I am left brain-right brain balanced, but the creative side did not make any significant appearances until ten years ago. In 2005, I was faced with some health challenges. As a result, I left a full-time job and started working part-time at Banyen Books and Sound. As part of my healing, I began colouring mandalas and would spend as many as ten hours on one mandala. Then one day a neon pink pamphlet arrived in the mail. I can still see it to this day. It was for Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio. As I read the offerings, a little voice in my head said that I should apply and that I would be accepted. I had never taken a writing class in my life and had only written in my journals, so it was quite the leap, but I trust that voice. Much to my surprise, they put me in the poetry section. I did not see myself as a poet; I had really hoped to get into non-fiction, as I intended to write a memoir. I objected but was assured that over time they are usually proven to be correct. Wow, were they right. Perhaps this poem I wrote about how poetry chose me says it best….

following the scent of the pen

poetry chose me
I wanted to write narratives
books of non-fiction, storytelling
flushed out and full, but
poetry chose me
insists on sparseness
on no punctuation
wants double meanings
infers rather than tells
gesturing at the narrative
it thumbs its nose at prose
say’s I don’t need it to tell my story
fractured fragments more suitable
for tales of a childhood like mine

poetry insists it knows the way
offers keys to locked doors
full of surprises, it leads me
down the garden path
knowing clichés are for losers
for those lost for words
poetry chose me