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Toronto’s Town Crier Celebrates Hoa Nguyen and Dale Smith

By Harriet Staff


Just in time for Hoa Nguyen’s reading on January 19th at Plasticene Poetry at Pauper’s Pub, The Town Crier’s Jess Taylor brings the spotlight to legendary Nguyen and legendary Skanky Possum teammate, Dale Smith.

Here’s our favorite part:

More than anything, Nguyen and Smith encourage writers to participate in community and to embrace the same DIY ethos that has led them to contribute so much to literary culture. “Don’t wait for it to happen,” Smith especially urges young writers. “Start your own thing. Identify the people you love and write them a letter and say, ‘Hey, I really like your work.’ When I was young, I used to write to everybody. I was living in Portland, I typed up my first little chapbook, and I sent it to Robert Creeley with this long letter to him saying how much I like him. Two weeks later, this big oversized postcard came back typed, single-spaced all along the back, telling me what he thought of the poems. Over the years, I started to know him. And Joanne Kyger, I wrote her a letter, and she invited us up for dinner. I think that depending on who you write, you might not hear from them, but [a lot depends] on how you identify your community. That’s the hardest thing when you’re young. Figure out your affinities. Like, do you want to win The Griffin Prize? Well, ok, professionalize and do it. Whatever that is. Or do you love your writing? What writing around you do you connect with? What do your friends say about it?”

It is crucial for writers in Toronto to get involved, not to sit on the sidelines, to contribute. Smith assures writers that once they get started, things pick up their own momentum: “It starts out really small, but one thing that I’ve noticed about poetry is that if you do one little issue of a magazine and identify communities and start putting it out, it snowballs. Same with a reading series.”

Read the rest of their profile at The Town Crier.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, January 13th, 2014 by Harriet Staff.