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Max Layton Interviews with Open Book Toronto 

in the garden of i amIn his recent “Lucky Seven” interview with Open Book Toronto, Max Layton speaks about his newest poetry collection, In the Garden of I Am : he elaborates on the prevalent themes of the collection, on his definition of great poetry, and on how the poems in the collection came to fruition.

Layton explains the literary challenges of writing a collection in which each poem begins with the same three words.

“The challenge, from the point of view of the poet, is this: if you’ve begun with the same first line, how do you vary the rhyme, the rhythm, the voice, etc., in the lines that come after? How do you make each poem different?”

He describes how the ideas in the collection came to him, and explains the significance of the life changing moment during which he regained his sight after being legally blind for two years:

“When I got my sight back, I felt I had died and been reborn. I felt I had been given a second chance. My blindness had forced me to look deeply into myself and now, for the first time in my life, I knew exactly what I wanted to say…”

When asked about his definition of a great book, Layton stresses his appreciation of “sustained, passionate meditations on profound and important themes.” In poetry in particular, he weighs in on the importance of crafting lines which “follow [one] another in a way which is simultaneously unpredictable and inevitable.”

Max Layton is currently working on another book of linked poems.

“All I’m willing to say about it at the moment is that every poem contains the word “like” — and that I am trying my best to write in ways which are as unpredictable as they are inevitable!”

Born in Montreal in 1946, Max Layton now lives in Cheltenham, Ontario. A published novelist and short story writer, Max went legally blind a decade ago. During that difficult period, he recorded his first CD of original songs and began the series of linked poems which would become When The Rapture Comes (Guernica, 2012). His eyesight restored thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, Max bounced back with the release of two more albums of songs and now, still going strong, another book of poems.

To read the full interview, visit the Open Book Toronto website:

In the Garden of I Am is available for purchase on the Guernica Editions website:

Posted in Interviews, Poetry.

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