Photo credit
Erin Flegg

Biography

​Leah Horlick grew up as a settler on Treaty Six Territory & the homelands of the Métis in Saskatoon. She is the author of three collections of poems: "Moldovan Hotel" (Brick Books, 2022,) For Your Own Good (Caitlin Press, 2015), and Riot Lung (Thistledown Press, 2012), and writes frequently on themes of intimacy and violence. In 2016, Leah was awarded the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers and For Your Own Good was named a Stonewall Honor Title by the American Library Association. She is heavily influenced by the possibilities that queer and trans writers of colour bring to poetry, to our world, and the world to come. Leah lived on unceded Coast Salish territories in Vancouver for nearly ten years, during which time she and her dear friend Estlin McPhee ran REVERB, a queer and anti-oppressive reading series. She now lives on Treaty Seven Territory & Region 3 of the Métis Nation in Calgary. 

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 read voraciously in high school, often under my desk during class. (Sorry, teachers, and thanks for looking the other way.) Being Jewish, I read a lot of Leonard Cohen, and was also deeply inspired by the work of my friend and mentor Adrienne Gruber. 

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

As a child I had an excellent hiding spot between a bookcase and a wall, which is what brought me into proximity with poetry - and later, the presence of beloved community members and family friends Martha Blum, Anne Szumigalski, and Elizabeth Brewster. I was also very fortunate to have an active public library system a few hours away from where I grew up; they ran summer writing workshops for teenagers, which gave me an invaluable sense of possibility.

What do you think a poet’s “job” is?

I return often to a quote from Toni Cade Bambara which reads, "The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible."

If you have a poem in our anthology what inspired you to write it?

My piece "For You Shall Be Called To Account" was inspired by the ways in which the legacy of the Holocaust has invaded my intimate relationships, and my struggle to navigate that particular form of haunting in my body, in relation to other bodies. 

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

I always keep Brandi Bird's heart-shattering collection "I Am Still Too Much" (Rahila's Ghost Press) close by on my bookshelf. Their poem "19" speaks deeply to me and would be a distinct pleasure to memorize: https://poetryinvoice.ca/poems/19

Publications

Title
Moldovan Hotel
Publisher
Brick Books
Editors
River Halen Guri
Date
April, 2022
Publication type
Book
Title
For Your Own Good
Publisher
Caitlin Press
Editors
Rachel Rose
Date
2015
Publication type
Book
Title
Riot Lung
Publisher
Thistledown Press
Editors
Susan Musgrave
Date
2012
Publication type
Book
Start here: