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Newly Emerging Voices: Stan Rogal Chooses Emma Healey in All Lit Up’s Poetry Primer # 9

stan rogalIn the 9th feature of All Lit Up’s Poetry Primer, an all month event which celebrates National Poetry Month, Guernica poet Stan Rogal selected Emma Healey as “an up-and-comer he felt would make a mark” on Canadian poetry.

All Lit Up’s Poetry Primer features 16 “emerging, innovative voices” on the Canadian literary scene which are chosen by established Canadian poets throughout the month of April. Each feature includes a poem from the selected poet.

In his commentary which explains why he chose Emma Healey, Stan Rogal comments on the daring nature of the poet’s work and explains that it is “often fragmentary, and… questions what is wonderful, what is significant and what is needed.”

Furthermore, he comments on the poet’s strong artistic sensibility with a poignant example.

“ [She is] progressive enough to say the word “fuck” and wise enough to use it sparingly and for intended effect.”

He sums up Healey by stating that she is “not simply smart, [but also] intelligent, energetic and often humorous: wonderful, significant and needed. And darn it all, people like her.”


In her accompanying commentary, Healey explains why she writes poetry and who her influences are.

She describes the roundabout way in which she arrived at the genre of poetry.

“I came to poetry sideways. When I started I thought I was destined to be a Serious Novelist, but the more time I spent actually writing instead of just having ideas about myself, the clearer it became that “serious” might have to mean something different than what I’d initially thought.”

Healey explains that it is when she discovered prose poetry in particular that she found her literary language:

“It was like I’d spent my whole life walking around mumbling to myself in a shoddy dialect that I thought I’d invented – and then suddenly I stumbled into a city where everyone’d been speaking that language, my language, but better and clearer and realer, for centuries.”

She is faithful to the genre for its contradictory nature, which she describes as “the perfect convergence of contradictory impulses”.

Moreover, Healey’s influences are copious and varied. Among those she names are not only writers such as Ellen Willis and Renata Adler, but also “Broad City, Drake and pretty much all dogs”.


To read All Lit Up’s Poetry Primer # 9 visit the All Lit Up website:

For more information about Stan Rogal and his work, visit the Guernica Editions website:

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