An Interview with Laurie Koensgen

Laurie Koensgen is a writer and educator living in Ottawa, Canada. Her poetry has appeared in journals, anthologies and online magazines across North America and in the UK. Laurie is a founding member of the Ruby Tuesday Writing Group. Her latest chapbook, Blue Moon/Orange Begonias, is with Rose Garden Press.

You can read her poem, My Paces, in the July 2022 issue of Pinhole Poetry.

If you didn’t write poetry, how do you think you might access the same fulfillments that poetry offers in your life? 

Is it cheating to answer with other forms of writing? Like songwriting, poetry’s once close kin? I was drawn to songwriting decades ago, and may experiment with lyrics and melody again. The musicality of language is important to me. And I love being spurred by the constraints of rhyme and meter.  

I’d like to try writing flash fiction, I think, because it’s concentrated. Because it can surprise, with vivid imagery and resonant message.   

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a chapbook tentatively called A Cold Glass of Water Against this Heat. It traces the arc of a love relationship. Generally feminist, it’s alternately fiery and tender. I want these 20-or-so short poems to appear together, to be read in close connection. 

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

I’ve spent more than forty years in the company of theatre artists (my husband is a professional stage & screen actor and my eldest son assumed the family trade at an early age) so I’m influenced by the rhythms of plays and screenplays. 

But my writing is particularly stirred by the visual arts — by the colours and textures of paintings and sculpture, by the moods they create and the narratives they suggest. 

Two of my poems were recently exhibited in hum, Ottawa’s first micro gallery. I enjoyed collaborating with the gallery’s curator, visual artist Lynda Cronin. I’m intrigued by affinities between artistic disciplines in general. 

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

I’m an original member of the Ruby Tuesdays, a self-directed writing group that has been meeting, weekly, for fifteen years. It’s the finest privilege of my writing life. The responsiveness we cultivate is rare. Our support for one other’s work can move from micro to major in a single morning. We are sure of each other, like wise roots of trees. 

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