Raoul Fernandes lives with his wife and two sons on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver, BC). His first collection of poems, Transmitter and Receiver (Nightwood Editions, 2015) won the Dorothy Livesay Award and the Debut-litzer Award for Poetry in 2016. He has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in English. He writes mostly free verse, and occasionally tries out other poetic forms. To him, poetry is a way to see the strange in the ordinary, to connect with others, and explore what it means to be a human being. He is influenced by many contemporary poets, Japanese haiku masters, the New York School, and the weird and wonderful poems his local poet friends are writing. You can read more about him at raoulfernandes.com
I did not read that much poetry in high school, even though I wrote a lot. As a teenager I was deeply affected by the lyrics in songs of bands I really liked: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, REM. I felt so much power in the words and wanted to write poems that had that kind of power.
I started writing as a teenager, mostly as a way to sort out my noisy feelings and thoughts. But I realized I was also making something beautiful, and knew very early that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I probably thought of myself as a poet, but I didn't feel comfortable introducing myself as one until a decade later.
I've always liked William Carlos Williams' idea of a poem being a "machine made of words". So a poet's job is to make these beautiful strange machines that can communicate what is impossible to communicate in any other form. To be deeply invested in language, meaning-making, and wonder.
We Lived Happily during the War by Ilya Kaminksy. I love Ilya's work. Deaf Republic is one of my favourite books of recent memory.