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Profile of Poet Steve Meagher by Open Book Toronto

steve meagher photoAs part of the “Poets in Profile” series, Open Book Toronto recently interviewed Guernica author Steve Meagher, whose collection of poems Navy Blue will be released by Guernica Editions this spring.

The article begins by stating, “the poems in Steve Meagher’s Navy Blue (Guernica Editions) capture the late night colouring of its title – exhilarating, sharp, urban and smart. It’s an insightful debut that takes on everything from tabloid news to childhood heroes, tipping its hat to Ray Souster, Irving Layton and others”.

Steve is asked several questions about the experiences that contributed to him becoming a poet and about his sources of inspiration. When asked, “What is the first poem you remember being affected by?” Steve replies, “I’m not sure if this qualifies, but when I was around 14 or 15 years old I got really into hip-hop music. Artists like The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, All Natural, Nas and Talib Kweli were a big deal for me. It was the early 2000s, right before digital music really took off, and I was always making mixtapes to listen to at lunch and after school with my friends. Some of that music definitely opened me up to the power of verse. The way these emcees could stack words and images on top of each other to paint a picture or convey a message. It was a great discovery”.

Steve also describes how much of an influence other poets have had on his writing. He states that if he had to pick a poem that he wished he’d written, he would likely choose a poem by Roque Dalton or Roberto Bolaño. He explains, “There’s something about those two poets that draws me in. I think it’s the way they always seemed to write it in blood. Reading them, I walk away with the feeling that poetry isn’t just a creative exercise or form of expression. It’s a weapon to go to war with. Since I can only choose one, I’ll go with ‘Lupe’ by Roberto Bolaño. That’s one of my favourites of his”.

Currently, Steve has been reading Thomas Merton’s Collected Poems as well as Ian Williams’ Personals. He states, “[Williams’] poem ‘Rings’ is so damn good. I read it over Christmas and it’s been running through my head ever since”.

Steve Meagher grew up in Oakville, Ontario and now lives in Toronto. His poems have appeared in Carousel, The Nashwaak Review and Ottawa Arts Review. Navy Blue is his first book.

Posted in Commentaries, Interviews, News, Poetry.

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