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Stan Rogal Talks about Inspiration, Leonard Cohen, and Sardines with Open Book Toronto

Open Book Toronto caught up with Stan Rogal to talk about inspiration and poetry as part of their Poets in Profile Series.

After Words“In high school our class was visited by a student teacher. She was young, blonde, beautiful and sporting a cast on her leg from a skiing accident,” Rogal recalls. “She played Leonard Cohen’s ‘Suzanne’ on a phonograph and said this was poetry.” The experience was the first one in which Stan Rogal realized that poetry was more than just “grey haired poets with all their pompous language and hidden symbolism.”  He confesses that that substitute teacher and her approach to poetry was what ultimately started his lifelong passion for the craft.

Of course, it hasn’t always been an easy journey. Rogal jokes that the best and worst parts about being a poet are one and the same: “Being alone in my room, writing.” He also does allude to the sheer hard work involved in getting a tough poem to work. “I generally manage to eventually beat the bastard into submission,” says Rogal.

The idea for Stan Rogal’s latest collection, After Words, was to offer a tip of the hat to people whose lives and/or works have influenced Stan Rogal over the years. Each piece is forwarded by a short background story as well as an epigram which provides some descriptive entry and flavour. The key was to construct these pieces in the author’s own style and voice and not fall into simple mimicry. Many names have been encrypted into the pieces as fractured homonyms, a sort of pun for the astute reader.

Stan Rogal was born in Vancouver and has resided in Toronto for 25 years. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies in Canada, the US and Europe, some in translation. He has published 19 books, including four novels, four story and 11 poetry collections. He is also a produced playwright and the artistic director of Bulletproof Theatre.

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

After Words is available on the Guernica website at:

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