Ashley Obscura

Ashley Obscura's picture
Photo credit: 
Ariana Molly
Biography: 
Ashley Obscura is the author of two poetry collections: Ambient Technology (Metatron, 2018) and I Am Here (Metatron, 2014) and the scriptwriter of three new media works: Oceanarium (Apocabliss Studio), Songs of the Lost (Manchester International Festival), and Museum of Symmetry (National Film Board of Canada).
 
Her poetry has been translated, anthologized and published in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Spain, Romania and Germany. Obscura has been anthologized as one of Canada’s best young poets (30 Under 30, In/Words Press), named “one of the best poets in Quebec today” (Spirale Magazine) and anthologized as one of the most influential female poets in Quebec over the past 20 years (Anthologie de la poésie contemporaine des femmes au Québec, Éditions du remue-ménage). Museum of Symmetry (National Film Board of Canada), a virtual reality game I developed with Paloma Dawkins, won multiple awards including the Canadian Screen Award for Best Virtual Reality Game in 2019 for its excellence in digital storytelling. My work and affiliated projects have been written about in the New Yorker, Dazed, Flare, Nylon, Pitchfork, Resident Advisor, and more.
 
Aside from my creative practice, I am also the Founder and Managing Editor of Metatron Press, a literary publisher and innovative incubator for young poets. Metatron’s projects include debut, literary pocketbooks, The Metatron Prize, unique events (digital and physical) and various digital publishing projects including ÖMËGÄ blog, ÄLPHÄ magazine and their #MicroMeta Instagram feature. I look towards the dissemination of poetry as an act of world-changing and building.
Micro-interview: 
Did you read poetry when you were in high school? Is there a particular poem that you loved when you were a teenager?: 

I discovered my love of poetry in grade 10. I was lucky enough to have a lover of poetry as an English teacher and to go to a high school that offered a Creative Writing class. I remember one of my first poetry classes was devoted to dissecting the meaning of e. e. cummings’ poem “since feeling is first.” I talked the whole class and was fascinated by the realm of metaphor expressed in the poem. This excited me very much. Poetry seemed, to me, to be some sort of puzzle similar to math, but composed of words, sentiment, and feeling.

 

since feeling is first
e. e. cummings


since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
– the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

When did you first start writing poetry? And then when did you start thinking of yourself as a poet?: 

I started mimicking poetry in elementary school when I disovered the books of Shel Silverstein, particularily “Where The Sidewalk Ends.” I loved how poetry pointed to this mysterious, magical, internal world that was not visible to the eye.

Learning to write poetry, for me, required a lot of impersonation of writers I admired. I moved in and out of a lot of impersonation before I stumbled upon my own voice and was able to comfortably refer to my self as a poet. I didn’t start introducing my self as a poet until I had completed my undergrad in Creative Writing from Concordia University at the age of 24, although I always considered my self a poet in my mind. 

What do you think a poet’s “job” is?: 

A poet’s job is to synthesize an experience of life into language.

If you had to choose one poem to memorize from our anthology, which one would it be?: 

Regardless” by Aisha Sasha John.

Publications: 
Title: 
Ambient Technology
Publisher: 
Metatron Press
Date: 
2018
Publication type: 
Book
Title: 
I Am Here
Publisher: 
Metatron Press
Date: 
2014
Publication type: 
Book
Title: 
30 Under 30: An Anthology of Canadian Millennial Poets
Publisher: 
In/Words
Date: 
2017
Publication type: 
Anthology