Kurt Armstrong

kurt-armstrongInterviewed by Thomas Guenther

Kurt Armstrong is a lay minister and handyman at Saint Margaret’s Anglican in Winnipeg, MB. He is a former editor at Geez magazine, the author of an essay collection, and a former adjunct professor at Providence University College, a small Christian Liberal Arts school outside of Winnipeg.

That’s where I first met him. I took his class in my first semester of university. It was initially called Writing for the Media, but the first day he re-christened it Creative Non-Fiction.

Creative Non-Fiction is Armstrong’s strength. In addition to writing for Christian publications such as Geez Magazine, he has written for The Globe and Mail and CBC’s Vinyl Café.

In 2011 Armstrong won a Canadian Christian Writing Award for his article “Jesus loves your penis, son,” a clear and honest piece about developing sexuality and its regularly misconstrued place and purpose in Christian dialogue.

That same year his book Why Love Will Always Be a Bad Investment was published. It contains 17 of Armstrong’s essays on love, marriage, and having children. He writes that these three life events are excellent, but costly. They are full of sacrifice and self-denial, but are worth it all if you don’t quit.

He is married and has three children.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’d kept a journal since I was 14, but never thought of myself as a writer until I was 27. I was in grad school, and flew to Australia to be best man for a friend’s wedding.

The night before the wedding I scribbled out a toast to the groom, and when I read it on the day of, I had the audience howling with laughter and weeping at the end. I didn’t know my writing had power like that. That was probably the first moment I felt like I could be a writer. [Read more…]

Amy De’Ath

amy-deathInterviewed by Maegan Cortens

Amy De’Ath was born in Suffolk in 1985. Her poetry books include Lower Parallel (Barque 2014), Caribou (Bad Press 2011), and Erec & Enide (Salt 2010). With Fred Wah, she is the editor of a collection of poetry and poetics, Toward. Some. Air. (Banff Centre Press 2015). Her critical writing has appeared in Anguish Language (Archive Books, 2015), and Cambridge Literary Review. She is a PhD student at Simon Fraser University and works on the poetics journal Line. She lives in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories.

What was one of your earliest encounters with poetry that has had a lasting effect?

Here’s a cute anecdote: I’m not a massive Sylvia Plath fan, but when I was 17 and leaving the college at my high school (Sudbury Upper School), I went to return this first edition copy of Plath’s Ariel to the school library. I had renewed it so many times but previous to that it hadn’t been borrowed from the library since 1976. The librarian handed it back to me and told me to keep it, which made me feel good because, in her opinion, I was a person worth that book, worth reading it. I guess that feels significant because I think you have to have a certain amount of confidence to read poetry, let alone write and publish it. [Read more…]