Photo credit
Jordan Crick

Biography

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

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 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.

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

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.

What do you think a poet’s “job” is?

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.

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

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.

Publications

Title
Transmitter and Reciever
Publisher
Nightwood Editions
Editors
Silas White
Date
2015
Publication type
Book
Poem title(s)
The Goodnight Skirt, Self Storage
Title
The Next Wave: An Anthology Of 21st Century Canadian Poetry
Publisher
Palimpsest Press
Editors
Jim Johnstone
Date
2018
Publication type
Anthology
Poem title(s)
“Melting Glacier, Burning Forest,” “You Were Depressed. There Were More Birds.,” “Life with Tigers,” “Books for the New Child”,“Suspension”
Title
Prism International 53:1 Fall 2014
Publisher
The Creative Writing Program of the University of British Columbia
Editors
Rob Taylor
Date
2014
Publication type
Periodical/Magazine
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