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Rosemary Clewes Talks Inspiration and Overcoming Writer’s Block with Open Book Toronto

Rosemary ClewesRosemary Clewes spoke with Open Book Toronto on September 25th, and in her interview, she talked about inspiration, education, and negotiating writer’s block. She recounts the moment when she decided to become a poet:

“We camped on the shore at St. Mary’s Bay just five miles from Cortez Island in the Canadian West.” Clewes recalls, “The salal grew so thickly by the shore as to be impenetrable. Thus we were left with twenty feet of beach and the tide coming in… We moved the fire inland a tad, and by the light of the moon and blazing stars, [our kayaking instructor] began to read from Mary Oliver’s “New and Selected Poems”. It was then that I decided to become a poet.”

Of course, Clewes’ story does not end there. She also discusses quick, non-stop prose ‘blasts’, which she uses to overcome writer’s block, and how poetry was included in the curriculum when she went to school.

Paper Wings, Clewes’ latest collection, is a collection of poems in five parts, seen through the lens of history, geography, familial loss and celebration. Whether travelling by icebreaker, kayak or on foot, or weaving memory into new landscapes of the heart, these poems incline to the marvellous and metaphysical. Each asks in different ways the question: “Where is home?” The conclusion: Home is found within our selves and without, anywhere, anytime.

Toronto poet Rosemary Clewes is the author of two books: Thule Explorer: Kayaking North of 77 Degrees (2008) and Once Houses Could Fly: Kayaking North of 79 Degrees (2012). In 2005, she was nominated by The Malahat Review for The National Magazine Awards and, in 2006, a finalist in the CBC Literary Awards. She has made seven trips to the Arctic, travelling by kayak, raft and icebreaker.

To read the full interview, you can visit Open Book at:

Paper Wings is available on the Guernica website at:

Posted in Interviews, News, Poetry.

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