Born in Manitoba, Sina Queyras grew up on the road in western Canada. She’s written one novel, a book of essays, six books of poetry and edited an anthology of Canadian poetry. She has won the Pat Lowther Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. In 2005, Queyras founded Lemon Hound, an influential literary journal. She lives in Montreal and works at Concordia University.
I started writing poetry before I knew how to read or write. I did this by asking my siblings (I had five older siblings) what a particular word in the newspaper was, and then I cut it out, and another, and another, and then I made poems. I wrote intense — or so they seemed to me — and obvious poems about autumn, a fox in the chicken coup, a bird in the hand etc. My mother loved doggerel and wrote copious amounts of it, which — though I loved to hear her read them — sort of killed any instinct to rhyme. I am still reluctant to call myself a poet and do so tentatively: I feel there is a wide gulf between being a person who writes poems and being a poet.
As you might have gleaned from the previous answer, I have a fairly rigid definition of a poet. From my perspective a poet must not only be a master-craftsperson, but a superhuman, and by that I mean an emotionally mature, energetically charged individual willing to say what others can’t or won’t, and willing not only to laugh or weep, but rage.
I was transcribing film that my sister shot while walking with me on Jericho Beach and in other spots of Vancouver. I wanted to write an elegy for her, and I wanted to somehow complete her unfinished project — she passed away quite young. This [“Five Postcards from Jericho”] was the result.