An Interview with Conyer Clayton

Conyer Clayton is a writer, musician, and editor living on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe land. She is the author of We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite (Guernica Editions, 2020, Winner of the Ottawa Book Award), But the sun, and the ships, and the fish, and the waves (A Feed Dog Book by Anvil Press, 2022), and many chapbooks. Her poetry, essays, and criticism appear in Room Magazine, filling station, Canthius, Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, The Capilano Review and others.

You can read her poem, Restful as a hornet, in the July 2022 issue of Pinhole Poetry

Would you like to tell us a little bit more about your poem? For instance, how or why you wrote it, or perhaps provide some extra context? 

I wrote this poem in the bathtub upon seeing a ladybug land on the window, and was inspired by the way their sheer, soft wings didn’t quite tuck all the way under their hard wing. I think they stayed poking out for the entirety of my drafting!

What are you working on now? 

I am working on my third manuscript, which is about disability and the climate crisis, as well as researching for a visual poetry project. 

How or where or with what does a poem begin? 

This is a tough question because I think it changes with every poem for me. There are as many answers as there are poems.

Are there other art forms that inspire or inform your poetry? 


How do you make space for poetry in your daily routine? 

I don’t! Poetry just kind of finds me when it needs to. Lucky for me it finds me often.

Do you belong to a writers group? If not, where do you find poetry community and feedback? 

I am part of VII (along with Manahil Bandukwala, Ellen Chang-Richardson, nina jane drystek, Helen Robertson, Margo LaPierre, and Chris Johnson) and we have a folder we pop our “needs feedback” poems into for whoever has time, which is something I am super grateful for!

In terms of poetic style or craft, is there a big question you are trying to find an answer for?

I don’t think so. I think most of my poems are asking their own question.

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