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Stephen Roney

Biography

Stephen Roney was born long ago in roughly the part of Canada Al Purdy calls “the country of defeat”; transported in youth to Montreal, where he briefly took the same route home from school as Breavman in Cohen’s "The Favourite Game." Since then he’s slept around: Kingston, Syracuse, Toronto, Wuhan, Seoul, Cebu, Athabasca, Kamloops, Al Ain, Doha, Chonan, Jubail. In most of those places, he taught English; having been burned by the fires of the academic inquisition to the third degree. He maintains fiercely that proper medium of poetry is memory; or at least he thinks he used to think so. This explains everything. Canadian poetry is about the life of everyman. Influences are William Kurelek, Andy Warhol, Blake, Coleridge, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton, Al Purdy, Lewis Carroll, and Rene Descartes. In most circumstances, he does not speak of himself in the third person.

 

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 hugely in high school. I read everything by Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton, and Al Purdy.The two poems I found most memorable and important were Dylan Thomas's "Fern Hill," and Yeats's "The Second Coming."

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

The first poem I recall was when I was age four. It was about being a cowboy. At that time, I thought of myself as a cowboy poet.

What do you think a poet’s “job” is?

A poet is a prophet, and a prophet is someone who tries at all costs to see the truth, and say it. Plato to the contrary. Plato was a liar.

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

Bike-Twister, Dennis Lee

Publications

Poem title(s)
Memo Re: Writing Memos; The Song of the Paranoid Saint at Queen and Shaw; A Memory of Falling Once in Leaves, etc.
Title
Many Bulls in My China Shop
Publisher
Penguin / Rival
Editors
Carl Muller
Date
circa 2006
Publication type
Book
Poem title(s)
An Aborigine Thinks of Leaving Home, Advice to Those in Danger of Being Discovered
Title
Vintage '92: Prize-winning Poems from the League of Canadian Poets
Publisher
League of Canadian Poets
Date
1992
Publication type
Anthology
Poem title(s)
Batoche, Armistice Day
Title
Love Lies Bleeding
Publisher
The Ontario Poetry Society
Editors
Tom Gannon Hamilton
Date
2021
Publication type
Anthology
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