Ariel Dawn’s prose poetry recently appears or is forthcoming in Litro, Guest, Train, and talking about strawberries all of the time. She writes with Tarot cards and oracles and lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
credit: Sara Hembree
How did you begin writing, and
what keeps you going?
writing to survive childhood, adolescence, and various mental disorders.
Certain moments of dissociation in elementary school convinced me that life was
just poetic material, and from this distance and mystery I could imagine
living, in this half-light. Poetry is what keeps me going.
You’ve published in a number of
journals. How do you decide which journals to send to?
grateful for the journals, the editors and other writers, and always delighted
to publish poems in print and online. I submit to the ones I admire and where
my work may fit. I’m attracted to name, manifesto, history, location. For the
past seven years I’ve worked on a collection, a love story, with ghosts, and
mostly sent these poems to areas our ancestors haunt. Submissions feel like
notes in bottles, I’m grateful for any response.
Have you noticed any repeated
themes or repeated subject matter in your work? What are you currently working
noticed my obsessions: salvation through love and art, mental disorders, death,
birth, liminality, the occult. My poems foretell and recall each other; some
lines echo: I see the collection as a novella. I’m working towards the union of
poetry with divination, to be a clearer channel, write closer with and about
What poets have influenced the
ways in which you write?
influences were WB Yeats, James Joyce, Leonard Cohen, Sylvia Plath, Anne
Sexton, Susan Musgrave, Robin Skelton: poems as spells, folklore, confessions,
secrets, revolutions. In university the Beat Generation, reading them with PC
Vandall, writing poems together in bars below old hotels. Later it was
Elizabeth Smart, Marie-Claire Blais, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Lawrence Durrell, Henry
Miller, Anais Nin, Andre Breton, Rainer Maria Rilke, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude
Stein, Dylan Thomas: they write from the borderlands of prose and poetry,
neurosis and psychosis, reality and dream, a crowded room and solitude.
How important has mentorship
been to your work? Is there anyone who specifically assisted your development
as a writer?
mentors I learn the essential art of revision. In Vancouver Island University
it was Keith Harrison and Ron Smith and close circles of writers critiquing
each other’s work. Then the Victoria School of Writing, workshops with Brian
Brett and MAC Farrant and classes and correspondence with Margaret Dyment. In
the last few years I was blessed with poems critiqued by Arc’s Poet-in-Residence Robyn Sarah, Amanda Earl, and Ann Creer.
What are you currently working
beginning a collection of prose poems with the Tarot. The Fool now, so inspired
and curious about how it will be. I recently finished my first collection and
still feel rather obsessed with that story, so may continue writing it through
the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana. Learning to read the cards made me
want to write them, to immerse myself in that deep old symbolic world.
Can you name a poet you think
should be receiving more attention?
really, I don’t think that way (attention seems rather frightening). Poetry is
just this life-sustaining conversation, visions, breathing, the rise and fall
of voices, loud, quiet, known, unknown. I imagine all the poets, the dead and
the living, in some bar or salon above or below an old hotel writing this one
poem that carries and transforms us.