Sina Queyras

if you open your mouth, ache.

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New Poems Up

Several poems from My Ariel, my new manuscript, are up across the Internet. If they look familiar, they should be: they are re-visions, ghostings, confrontations, and responses to Sylvia Plath’s Ariel.  I’ll be writing more about the project (like why on earth, and are you insane?), but not until next summer, when I have some time to do so. Meanwhile I’ll polish, take notes, and gather the links here. The first few earlier versions appeared in The Fiddlehead, which I can’t link to. I didn’t quite know what I was up to with those, but they were the gateway. More anon, and with thanks to all the editors!

“I am no Lady, Lazarus,” Rusty Toque

“Little Fugue,” The Awl

“Thalidomide,” “The Rabbit Catcher,” The Malahat Review 

“Couriers,” “Cut,” Poetry

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MxT reviewed over at Poetry

MxT generates its force through the perpetual denial of this promise. Over and over, the poems present a detached and clinical façade, only to have it break down or prove useless. For example, “A Manual for Remembering” instructs the reader on ways to encounter memory while remaining safe and insulated: “When remembering it is best to wear pants without cuffs, boots, gloves, safety glasses and a feeling helmet (shade 10 or higher).” As the poem progresses, however, these instructions become increasingly elaborate, fantastic, or impossible:

Never touch a banana slug, or cedar melting like lava. Beware of a failed city tumbling into the bowl of an upturned tree. If ferns adorning each dull ache are wet, apply a Cowichan sweater 
zipped up to the first branch.

The constant reminders to guard against memory reinforce its dangers, and our inability to follow the directions suggests that no amount of precaution can truly protect us.

Read it here, along with reviews of Fanny Howe, Dororthea Lasky and Joanne Diaz. Thanks to Poetry and Rebecca Hazelton.

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Montreal: Writers’ Paradise

“The scene is increasingly diverse,” observed Queyras, director of Writers Read, a Concordia University series that invites established and emerging writers from Canada and abroad to give public readings as well as master’s classes.

“There are more readings at bookstores like Drawn & Quarterly and Argo, and at galleries like VAV and Phi Centre. There are new literary undertakings such as Metatron Press and, of course, more reading series here at Concordia. When I first arrived in Montreal around 2008, it seemed the only literary scene was around a table full of beer.”

To Queyras’s mind, “a healthy writing community has a lot of different scenes, not exclusive or divisive scenes, but distinct ones, with a lot of crossover.”

Writer and teacher Sina Queyras talks with students during a creative writing class at Concordia University, in Montreal, Monday, April 13, 2015.
Writer and teacher Sina Queyras talks with students during a creative writing class at Concordia University.

read the piece here.

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Elska mína

mom and dad thompson



Sina Queyras

You created me, you should remember me; leaned your face into the canto of
… birth and broke air with me, breathed your best, your unrest
Into me even as you bled, and my father—a taut shock of muscle—caught me
… an Eagle takes a trout.
It was a rave, mother, a real wave and blue, a sprig of fur the three of us in our
…..first Pas de trois. You chewed the cord as he yanked,
Before that I was locked in the dashboard with Patsy Cline while you two
…..hurled and ducked. You bore me,
You should recall the blood you gave me, breathed your discontent, your
…..troubling, joyous, mysterious, unquenchable thirst for
Life in me: you shock of blonde, rare as Marilyn, a knubbly shudder of hose and
…..Almond Nougat
An edible parchment, a scroll so naïve, with such…

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Shannon Webb-Campbell on MxT

MxT by Sina Queyras
By Shannon Webb-Campbell
April 25 2014

Nothing is large enough to hold grief. Even language fails to contain it. Sina Queyras proposes a formula for grieving in her latest collection MxT, or Memory x Time, what could be this year’s most devastating and enlightening Canadian poetry collection. Known as Lemon Hound in her online avatar, Queyras is a poet of tremendous weight. Her might is found in every line. In the opening poem, “Water, Water, Everywhere,” she writes, “I don’t want a theory; I want the poem inside me. I want the poem to unfurl like a thousand monks chanting inside me.”

Grief hollows. Loss guts. Queyras’ fragments momentarily alleviate the burden, and offer poetic embodiment. While grief shatters our internal mosaic, Queyras attempts to restore pieces. Gives nourishment. These poems not only mourn the dead, they engage with the unnameable, unknowable ocean of loss. This is memory, divided, categorized and turned over. This is a form becoming a formula. This is poetry at its purest. This is a place to hold, and be held.

Queyras navigates the land mines of memory, death and loss, and shifts perspective with diagrams. Throughout, she invokes conversation with other poets and theorists, eliciting both the engineers of language and science. In several elegies – “Sylvia Plath’s Elegy for Sylvia Plath, Elegy for my Father’s Labour, Elegy for a Lost Brother” etc. – Queyras invites readers to reflect on how the lineage of loss has its own memory, time and feeling. Queyras swims in the pools of theory, only to abandon intellectualism and declare that grief’s unquenchable thirst is emotionality.

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Review at The Rumpus

Very pleased and honoured by this review from Julie Enzer over at The Rumpus, contextualizing my work in a lineage of feminist poetry that I have long respected, embraced, and nodded at, but never taken on directly as a lineage or as an identity. I should talk about that more some time–why the reticence to something so obvious now. I resist being pigeon-holed in all ways I guess, not just aesthetically. In any case, here is the review. It’s unabashedly positive, something I rarely illicit from reviewers and again, I am thankful for that too. Not all reviews need to leave their little wounds.