Paul Vermeersch

Paul Vermeersch's picture
Photo credit: 
Meg Matera Photography
b. 1973
Biography: 

Paul Vermeersch is a poet, multimedia artist, creative writing professor, and literary editor. He is the author of several poetry collections, including the Trillium–award nominated The Reinvention of the Human Hand and, most recently, Shared Universe: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph for which he received the Governor General's Gold Medal. He teaches in the Creative Writing & Publishing program at Sheridan College and is the founding editor of Buckrider Books, an imprint of Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd. He lives in Toronto.

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?: 

"Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll. I sat on the library floor reading it over and over until I memorized it.

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

I started writing poetry when I was 12, but I didn't think of myself as a poet until I was in university. It was there where I met other aspiring writers who challenged and encouraged me enough to take my own work seriously. I decided to make myself an expert, and I dedicated myself to studying the craft of poetry both inside and outside the classroom. 

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

It's a lot of things. Writing poems is only a part of it, and I believe it's different for every poet, but for me being a student, teacher and editor is part of the job. I want to engage with my communities to make space and opportunities for other people's work, to create dialogue and remove barriers, to make things possible.

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

Oh, let it be “The Fish” by Marianne Moore. What otherworldly magic! How wonderful it would be to have such images in me.

Publications: 
Poem title(s): 
"The Modern Novel," "On Being Wrong," "Don't Wait for the Woodsman"
Title: 
Self-Defence for the Brave and Happy
Publisher: 
ECW Press
Date: 
2018
Publication type: 
Book
Poem title(s): 
"They Will Take My Island," "The Palace of Eternal Youth," "The Unseen World"
Title: 
Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something
Publisher: 
ECW Press
Date: 
2014
Publication type: 
Book
Poem title(s): 
"Shared Universe," "Suburban Hauntology: Kitchen Wallpaper," "Psalms of the MetaOccult"
Title: 
Shared Universe: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020
Publisher: 
ECW Press
Date: 
2020
Publication type: 
Book