Elee Kraljii Gardiner

Elee Kraljii Gardiner's picture
Photo credit: 
Paul Joseph
b. 1970
Biography: 

Elee Kraljii Gardiner’s first book of poems, serpentine loop (Anvil Press, 2016), nominated for the 2017 Raymond Souster Award, handles physicality and the body while considering gender and other social issues. Her second book, the long poem memoir Trauma Head (Anvil Press, 2018), shortlisted for the Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and nominated for the Souster Award, also concerns the body but from a medical perspective. She is coeditor with John Asfour of V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2012), shortlisted for the 2012 City of Vancouver Book Award and editor of Against Death: 35 Essays on Living (Anvil Press, 2019). Elee is interested inter-genre texts that combine memoir, documentary and poetry of witness. She’s a frequent collaborator with choreographers, visual artists and musicians and has been busy reading Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Nick Flynn, Joan Naviyuk Kane, Anne Carson, Bhanu Kapil, and Billy-Ray Belcourt.  www.eleekg.com

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 didn’t read poetry! I read lyrics, narrative, essays, and fiction. When I moved to Vancouver I connected with BC poets Betsy Warland, Rachel Rose, Wayde Compton and began writing poems. All of them explore form in groundbreaking ways that have instructed my interests.

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

I wrote my first poem in 2008 at age 37. I claimed the word “poet” not when I started publishing soon after but when all other writing fell by the wayside.

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

To question, indict, document. To reveal a facet of a problem that might have been overlooked or misunderstood. To play. To wrestle words into strange patterns. To complicate things. To untangle then reknot the world.

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

I would have to choose a simple, simple, simple one because memorizing is so hard for me, which is probably why I am so excited by Poetry In Voice and the abilities of the students. Aspirationally, I would look to the poems of Jordan AbelElizabeth Bachinsky, Sonnet L’Abbe, Liz Howard, Sina Queyras, Claudia Rankine, Sandra Ridley, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Rita Wong, and Wayde Compton for words I want to hold in repetition. My list is long. There are fields and fields of BIPOC and female and LGBTQ2S authors that I want to read closely and remember well.

Publications: 
Title: 
serpentine loop
Publisher: 
Anvil Press
Date: 
2016
Publication type: 
Book
Title: 
Trauma Head
Publisher: 
Anvil Press
Date: 
fall 2018
Publication type: 
Book
Title: 
V6A: Writing from the Downtown Eastside
Publisher: 
Arsenal Pulp Press
Date: 
2012
Publication type: 
Book