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Behind the Poem: Ariel Gordon and the How-To Poems

Book Cover Stowaways

Governor-General's Award-winning poet Julie Bruck writes of Ariel Gordon's second collection, Stowaways, "These are nervy poems that refuse to behave themselves. They are something to celebrate." Throughout the collection, the wild and the domestic intersect (and misbehave!) in surprising and illuminating ways. A particular highlight of the book are Gordon's "How-To" poems. In this guest post, Gordon gives us their background, and shares "How to Write a Poem." 


I’ve spent a lot of my life as a passenger.

Sitting with a notebook and a pencil dug from the gritty bottom of my bag while someone else navigated, writing because I’d “seen something.”

We’d arrive somewhere and I’d have no idea where we were. And I’d just shrug, because I’d be hauled home, too. And I had the beginnings of a poem in my notebook, humming to itself smugly.

When I finally got my own car, I was in my mid-30s. And my mental map of Winnipeg was all elaborate bus routes and jaywalking.

But I had to be present when driving my little Prius. I had to monitor the process of getting from A to B, where before I would park my body and just monitor my thoughts, fingers moving over the marked-up pages. 

I mourned a little when I no longer had a long bus ride to university—and a bust-proof …

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