Ariel Gordon is a Winnipeg writer. She is the author of two collections of urban-nature poetry, both of which won the Lansdowne Prize for Poetry. Recent projects include the anthology GUSH: menstrual manifestos for our times (Calgary: Frontenac House), co-edited with Tanis MacDonald and Rosanna Deerchild, and 2018 edition of the National Poetry Month in the Winnipeg Free Press project. Coming this spring is Treed, a book of urban forest essays with Hamilton's Wolsak & Wynn.
I read poetry in my English classes but in my own time, preferred terrible teen romances and excellent fantasy novels by Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert, and Dave Duncan. That said, I was reared on the poetry of Shel Silverstein and Dennis Lee and the good lyrics/bad banter of Stan Rogers.
I started writing poetry in first year university after spending my teen years writing a fantasy novel. I was working at the student newspaper The Uniter and studying English lit with poet Deborah Schnitzer when I took something that I thought was fiction to writer-in-residence Dave Margoshes. He read my work and said, “Are you sure this isn't a poem?” Though there were many other steps in the process of writing and publishing poems — studying creative writing with Catherine Hunter, working as a summer student at Prairie Fire, volunteering at Zygote Magazine — but I think that moment in Dave's office was when I started thinking of myself as a poet.
I think a poet's job is to go out into the world and send dispatches back to her readers.
I'm not great at memorization; even after multiple readings of my own work, I'm usually only three-quarters off-book. But if I had to memorize something, I would attempt Kevin Connolly's "Plenty."