8 Questions with David Silverberg

To celebrate National Poetry Month in April, we gave the world two new poetry collections: Casting Shadows by Troy Harkin and As Close to the Edge Without Going Over by David Silverberg. We sat down asked 8 questions with Troy to know our onions about the work that went on behind Casting Shadows. This time we chased down David Silverberg to do the same about As Close to the Edge Without Going Over. We wanted to keep things fair—we gave Troy a round of warm-up questions, so we had to give David a go, too:

1. Mr. Silverberg, would you rather write poetry piss-drunk or high as fuck? Why?

“High as funk because I can’t type when I’m drunk, nor do I come up with any illuminating ideas while sauced.”

2. What do you hate about poetry?

“Sometimes I hate how people view poetry, seeing it as an art form only taught in grade school and then forgotten. Poetry gets a bad rap from those outside the scene, and hopefully that tide is turning as more poetry slams and spoken word artists harness social media to get the word out about the invigorating and poignant poetry they’re creating.”

3. Bonus skill-testing not-question: turn a Trump tweet into poetry.

*No answer*

Sorry, David. We concede that these were bad-ish warm-up questions. Anyway, let’s smarten up:

4. What inspired you to write your new collection?

“Science fiction and fantasy fiction drew me into writing when I was younger, and I wanted to return to genre writing with a more mature approach. When Sandra Kasturi approached me to see whether I was interested in submitting a collection to ChiZine, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t had a new book of poetry in a decade, and so I felt this was also the right time to offer to the world some of my ideas and frustrations surrounding the future hurtling towards us.”

5. Describe writing your new collection. What was hard about writing it, what was easy?

“This new book curates all the poetry I’ve written on sci-fi, magic realism, surrealistic and horror themes. The book features various visions of the feature, from the utopic to the dystopic, and I also included some of my thoughts on ideas such as horror-movie villains, inane terms and conditions policies, seeing dead friends as playful ghosts and much more. What was difficult about tackling this collection was keeping to the themes of sci-fi and fantasy, a restriction I’ve never put on myself before. The poems didn’t always come naturally to me, but what was truly helpful was taking a week to write at a retreat on the Toronto Islands, to just immerse myself in the Islands and focus on writing.”

6. What do you want readers to gather from it?

“Readers should be left with some chin-stroking moments of Hmm, maybe that could happen to us in a few decades from now? Damn. Or Wow, I’ve never read a poem like that before! I wanted to blend the rhythm of my spoken word talent with my passion for untangling speculative and magical themes that usually don’t pop up in my work. I want readers to realize poetry can be written on any topic that burns inside you, whether that relates to where our world is heading from a technological perspective or to advances we make on building communities and looking out for one another.”

7. What are your most favourite and least favourite poems that you’ve written, and why?

“Most favourite? Probably the horror-villian movie piece, in which I reveal how horror movies taught me lessons that other film genres haven’t, and it also lets me flex my humour throughout the poem. Least favourite? Of all time, it might have been one of the first poems I wrote, at nineteen, about Vince Carter’s armpit. Yes, a basketball player’s armpit. I wrote that poem because I admired how Carter was dunking all over opponents while playing for the Raptors, and I wanted to pen an ode to the armpit, the thing audiences see on TV when a poster features a basketball dunk. It was silly and not very well thought out, so maybe I’ll do a cheeky rewrite one of these days, replacing Carter with Kawhi Leonard.”

8. What does poetry mean to you?

“Poetry means expressing yourself with an honesty rarely seen today. It means being open and curious about how the world works and finding a way to give a voice to the ideas swirling inside you.”

Brilliant answers, David, thank you.

Get your copy of As Close to the Edge Without Going Over today. We’ll be back in a couple weeks with something fun and/or weird that we don’t yet know about. Subscribe to the Fortnightly News to get updates on upcoming events, releases, contests, and other cool stuff.

Happy reading.