TWO INTERVIEWS BY TWO COACH HOUSE BOOKS POETS:::
Interview #1 Sarah Pinder
Do you ever think about trees?
I often wish I could be better at identifying tree species than I am. My father was a forester for a time, and now has a large plot of land he’s been planting trees on. Walking the property line with him is always a crash course in tree ID-ing. I’m envious of his ability to read his surroundings so clearly, and to see what’s being said about a space by what or how the trees are.
What is a vivid/significant memory you have involving a tree or trees?
One of my first jobs was working for a tree-planting company in my hometown over a summer, cleaning up the vehicles they used to transport people into the bush to plant trees. There could not be a dirtier job, I swear to God. I washed the vans out with a pressure washer, then would scrub them out with a wire bristle brush on my hands and knees, then hose them down again. Earth was embedded in every single crevice and crack of those vehicles. Earth and crumpled up porn and granola bar wrappers. Everything was held together with duct tape and axe handles.
Treeplanting is often a large part of how forests exist in a Canadian context, what with clearcut logging being a common practice. That job gave me the chance to dwell on the idea of forests sometimes being heavily constructed environments (when I wasn’t scraping sun-baked band-aids off the roofs of rental vans).
Are trees involved at all in your writing or worldview?
The romantic idea of a forest as a wild, untouched space was formative for me, but I also lived in single-industry towns relying on resource extraction for jobs. That sense of wildness existed alongside an understanding that what we call wild is often heavily mediated. I haven’t lived near or worked in the bush now for several years, but I still think and write about that tension a lot.
Sarah Pinder reads a poem: https://vimeo.com/47450758
Sarah Pinder lives in Toronto. Her first collection, Cutting Room, is
forthcoming with Coach House Books in Fall 2012. Her writing has been
shortlisted for the Expozine Small Press Awards and included in the
anthology She’s Shameless, and journals like Room, Canadian Woman
Studies and invisible city. A zine-maker of over a decade, you can
find her work in Montreal’s Distroboto art vending machines, as well
as a mailbox near you. http://bitsofstring.wordpress.com/