Greg Santos

Greg Santos's picture
1981
Biography: 

Greg Santos is a poet, editor, and educator. He is the author of Blackbirds (2018), Rabbit Punch! (2014), and The Emperor's Sofa (2010). His new full-length poetry collection is Ghost Face (2020). His work has also been featured in a range of Canadian and international periodicals. Greg is the Editor in Chief of the Quebec Writers' Federation's online literary magazine, carte blanche. Santos's poetry has been described by poet Stuart Ross as "intimate, dark, enigmatic, playful, and surreal." He is a Montreal-born Cambodian adoptee with Portuguese and Spanish heritage. His writing is known for touching on popular culture, identity, migration, adoption, parenthood, family, love, imagination, and the power of hope. He regularly works with at-risk communities and teaches at The Thomas More Institute. He lives in tio'tia:ke/Montréal with his family.

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 actually didn't read much poetry when I was in high school, although I do recall reading Emily Dickinson and e.e. cummings and being both intrigued and mystified by their words. Emily Dickinson's poem "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" really resonated with me before I really started to dive into poetry. I also loved the sound and strangeness of e.e. cummings' poem "anyone lived in a pretty how town." I rewrote cumming's poem and turned it into a song that I wrote a tune for on my guitar. 

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

Before I really started to try to study and understand poetry, my first poems were lyrics for songs that I wrote.

Around 2007, I was in graduate school in the US and I received a phone call. I was invited to be a juror for a poetry award. I hadn't published a book yet, maybe some book reviews, pieces in zines, school publications, and a handful of literary journals, but when I answered the phone, I was asked, "Is this Greg Santos? Greg Santos the poet?" I was being recognized by my peers as someone who wrote, wrote about, and read poetry passionately. I was completely flabbergasted at being called a poet in any official sort of way. After that, I figured I might as well just continue putting in the work to go along with the title.

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

For me, a poet's job is to voice that which cannot be shared through regular speech. It's being able to capture something elusive using language as an art form. 

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

I would want to memorize "Introduction to Poetry" by Billy Collins. I regularly teach poetry workshops and I find the poem a good read to get folks to shake their preconceived notions on how we might have been taught to read poetry in school. Say, as if it's a puzzle meant to be solved, rather than something that you can enjoy on its own merits. I find Collins' poem funny and charming.

Publications: 
Poem title(s): 
I Have a Problem; Siem Reap, Cambodia
Title: 
Blackbirds
Publisher: 
Eyewear
Date: 
2018
Publication type: 
Book
Title: 
Rabbit Punch!
Publisher: 
DC Books
Date: 
2014
Publication type: 
Book
Poem title(s): 
Dear Ghosts, Within the Memory Palace, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Title: 
Ghost Face
Publisher: 
DC Books
Date: 
2020
Publication type: 
Book