An Interview with Susan Wismer

SUSAN WISMER (she/her) is grateful to live on Treaty 18 territory at the southern shore of Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada with two human partners and a very large dog. Recent work has been published in Orbis International Literary Journal, Poetry Plans (Bell Press), Qwerty, Prairie Fire, The New Quarterly,and in Poets in Response to Peril (eds. Penn Kemp, Richard Sitoski). Find more at 
You can read her poem, Winter letter, unfinished in the April 2023 issue.

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?
Sometime between 4000-2500 BCE, during a time of major environmental changes and social upheaval, an unknown pair of hands created a small clay figure. A peacefully reclining goddess of bountiful proportions, the `Venus of Malta’ was not on my mind on the day I wrote this poem— until I found that wind had become a snow sculptor, creating a beautifully rounded woman in my driveway. I was heartened to find her there, a powerful reminder from across centuries and continents of human possibilities for creativity, resilience, abundance in difficult times. The neighbours mentioned in the poem did find a new home, but our town has not yet created good ways to house its people.

Why was the poetic form the best fit for this particular piece of work?
I love to write letters. An epistolary form got me started on this small reflective piece on beauty, the social and environmental madness of our times, and housing.

Do you have a collection of poetry or even a single poem that acts as a touchstone?
Many years ago, reading Adrienne Rich’s essay On Lies Secrets and Silence got me thinking that I might want to write poetry one day. Louise Halfe Sky Dancer’s collection Awasis is an inspiring touchstone for its beauty, humour and honesty.

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