Elaine Woo's second poetry collection continues to look through the framework of mythology, as does her first book, Cycling with the Dragon, Nightwood Editions, 2014.
Where are you now?
Good question. In the early weeks after the US election, my initial impulse was to curl up in a fetal ball and hide in bed to await the end of days. But after speaking with Canadian friends and relatives residing in America, I decided, more than ever, now is the time to speak out and resist. And, I have begun through my writing.
I read Trump is stripping funding for NASA climate research when polar glaciers are melting at a rapid pace and the Global Mean Sea Level has risen 4 to 8 inches in the past century. Perhaps, if he has any beachside holdings, he might reconsider were it to flood.
The CanLit furor has proved just as divisive. With so many divergent views, bridging is ever more desirable. We need calm discussions and perhaps agree to disagree.
What are you reading?
The Errancy (poems) by Jorie Graham. I'm not very far into the book but hugely admire her craft and depth.
What have you discovered lately?
Firstly, the joy of less. Secondly, any time is cause for celebration.
The appreciation that all people are imperfect.
Where do you write?
I've been invited to join writing groups as well as to facilitate writing groups but feel most comfortable at my ancient teacher's desk, surrounded by books by authors I admire, student prints, and photos of loved ones.
What are you working on?
A second manuscript about human foibles. One day while reading an anthology of classical mythology, it struck me to use the Greek gods and the Monkey King of Chinese mythology to represent humans in fictitious exploits.
Have you anything forthcoming?
I have 3 pieces coming out in CWILA's S/tick. One is a graphic comic: a conversation about the very real power struggle in many relationships. The other two are poems inspired by firstly, a female duck chastising 3 mallards at a local bird sanctuary and secondly, a night looking at celebrity stories online.
What would you rather be doing?
Nothing else. I write for the joy of writing.
Blue skies agitate, streak, marble with black and silver
Gaia’s gauze-sheathed breasts fall upon Uranus’, his iron manhood slips in her well. Geysers erupt, cloud banks curdle. Hurricane current of DNA, monster strands
unravel, wreaks debris of monolithic creatures, twelve Titans, including Cronus, Rhea, and Iapetos, fifty headed and hundred armed Hecatoncheires and Cyclopes, wailing bricks of pain
Pater Familias rams their mutant
progeny in mother’s yawning
a mucosal, veiny pink abyss
She, red-raging, turns
A fiction? Battered, Titans, Cyclopes, and siblings
confined, wince, cringe
nails breasts, rousingly roar for “MORE”
It Takes Imagination
beasts’ eyelids squintered
unfurl a scale obstinate another
flame of throat kiln
firing dialogue between brain and tongue
winch hefty boulders
ignite language of ochre comfort in toil
“a challenge to suffer bravely”1
shoulder isolation, multi water pots atop head
slave against hatred
split anguish gruel
faint pink amity horizon perceptible
warms brows earthen
ushers in hushed peace
clambering out of captivity, a fantasy still?