I grew up in Ireland where poetry is in the nod and wink of everything. It is a huge part of the education system from kindergarten on. My father had an incredible ability to remember all types of poems which he would share with us whenever the mood struck - which was, thankfully, often. My mother has a deep love for poetry, and for Seamus Heaney's beautiful writing in particular. She falls asleep to his book Stepping Stones every night. I've always loved reading poetry but only started writing and sharing my poems (in earnest) about a year ago. One of the members of my writing group, Rachel Rose, was Poet Laureate of Vancouver, BC, and she encouraged me to give it a whirl.
When I was eight, autograph books were all the rage. My mum wrote this in my little red gilt-edged book and I have kept the words close all these decades later.
Your own canoe
What would you say is your most interesting writing habit?
I like to light a candle before I start writing. The action of striking a match and lighting a flame helps separate the "what was then" and" what is now" for me.
What book is currently on your bedside table?
I just finished A Swim in a Pondin the Rain by George Saunders. I am gobsmacked by the man's generosity in sharing seven favourite lectures that he gives to students who take his nineteenth-century masters of Russian short stories course. I have been swooning at every literary deep dive and his nudges to young writer students into acquiring the technical means to become "defiantly and joyfully themselves" in their own stories. I am also dipping in and out of Japanese Death Poems (written by Zen monks and Haiku poets on the verge of death) by Yoel Hoffman.
Advice to someone just starting to write poetry?
My advice is to always read your poem out loud. Listen to the beat and musicality of your words. Feel how they trip from your tongue to the listener's ear. Always use surprising language and try to find a break in the poem where it opens up in a way neither you or the reader was expecting.
What inspires you to write?
Many things that inspire me to write. Tantalizing words or expressions, a happy or sad thought, an exquisite nuance of nature, a screech of brakes, or light reflecting off a skyscraper, my dog's waggle, a crushed petal, crunched pebble, lyrics from a song, the list goes on!
Anything else you'd like us to know?
I have a website: https://www.annemariecorrigan.com. I am compiling an anthology of poems that I hope to get published later this year and am also tapping into my roots to create a modern version of a Celtic mythological story tentatively called The Child with Silver Hair.
Anne Marie Corrigan is an Irish writer living in Vancouver, BC who is privileged to live and work on the traditional, ancestral and unceded Coast Salish Lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) people. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Subterranean Blue Poetry, Alive Magazine, The Exchanger, The Thunderbird Magazine, In Dublin Magazine, and Orato. Alongside her love of poetry, Anne Marie has also completed her first book of fiction, The Cause, and is working to get it published.