Deanna Radford

Deanna Radford's picture
Photo credit: 
Vi Photographie, 2019
1976
Biography: 

Deanna Radford's poetry is compelled by the language of human communication. It looks at our relationship to the Internet & the material space it occupies in our lives. Experimental sound poetry, art, the environment, & intersectional social justice inspire & influence her practice.

In prose, Deanna has written about literature, sound art, & music for Arc, Broken Pencil, Herizons, Musicworks, MUTEKmag, & others. Her poetry has been published by Art + Wonder, The Capilano Review, carte blanche, Free City Radio's Art & Social Change, The Headlight Anthology, Occulto Magazine, & Vallum.

As a performance poet, Deanna appeared with Kaie Kellough & Margaret Christakos in Klara du Plessis' Deep Curation series in Fall 2019. Her poetry/sound band Cloud Circuit launched its début recording (Archive Officielle Publications) in Spring 2020.

Deanna is a frequent judge of Poetry In Voice recitations, former curator of the Atwater Poetry Project, & a recent graduate of Concordia University's MA in creative writing.

https://deannaradford.net

https://cloudcircuit.net

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?: 

"Two views of a cadaver room," by Sylvia Plath and "The Waste Land," by T. S. Eliot had a profound effect on me. I loved learning these poems and still love reading them.

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

In junior high I was huge music fan (still am.) After copying out dozens of song lyrics by my favourite artists, I realized I could do the same by writing poetry. While I wasn't a great student at the time, I always did well in English and writing poetry helped me. It was a way to express myself and to get through the difficult times. It was satisfying to play with words, images, and ideas on the page and to create.

I stopped writing poetry in my late teens and turned to music and art journalism. After moving to Montréal from Winnipeg, I returned to poetry. The same things I first found appealing were still there and it freed me from the constrains of journalism. It was fun! When I became comfortable writing and speaking about poetry is when I started to identify as a poet. I believe we all have poetry within.

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

The job of the poet is to honour the particular ideas, feelings, or gestures that compel them as witness to their own moment in time.

Poetry is an essential form of human expression whether spoken or written. Anyone can engage in and with it.

With poetry, we can share joy, commemorate, create, dream, protest, document, and seek solace. Great poetry speaks to the human condition.

It can make magic.

It can move us as listeners, as readers, as humans.

 

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

In "fluorine," Rita Wong captures the "mundane acts" as part of the human relationship to the natural environment and hazardous materials powerfully. She writes,

“...unless otherwise

informed crowded alloys detect no

health damage until generations later i

brush my teeth with nuclear intensity

the cavities i avoid destined for others

fall into hazardous-waste piles up as

i sleep...” 

 

Not only does the poem speak of how hazardous materials are ingrained our daily lives and the fallout from using them, but it also shows how intimately connected they are to our lives. I love this poem because of how much it conveys in a single stanza, especially human empathy and our responsibility for these matters at the same. If I had to choose one poem to memorize from the anthology, it would be "flourine" for these reasons. It's as relevant now as it was when it was published in 2007. And because it's beautiful to look at, like a puff of breath on a "cold crisp morning."

Publications: 
Poem title(s): 
Google powering Finnish server farm with Swedish wind farm
Title: 
Vallum: Contemporary Poetry
Publisher: 
Vallum Society for Education in Arts and Letters (VSEAL)
Editors: 
Joshua Auerbach & Eleni Zisimatos
Date: 
Spring 2019
Publication type: 
Periodical/Magazine
Poem title(s): 
When my lover is across the ocean
Title: 
The Capilano Review
Publisher: 
The Capilano Review Contemporary Arts Society
Editors: 
Fenn Stewart
Date: 
Spring 2019
Publication type: 
Periodical/Magazine
Poem title(s): 
Safety in numbers
Title: 
carte blanche
Publisher: 
Quebec Writers’ Federation
Editors: 
Greg Santos, Tess Liem, Klara du Plessis
Date: 
Fall 2018
Publication type: 
Periodical/Magazine