Talking Shop with Whitney Moran!

Halifax resident Whitney Moran is quickly making a name for herself as one of the region’s finest poets. The twenty-something scribe has received a slew of critical acclaim from those-in-the-know over the last while for her stirring, lyrical style – what one of her peers called “a perfect mix of passion and precision.” Recently Stephen Patrick Clare spoke with Moran about her life and work.

AE: What do you like most about living and working in Halifax?
WM: It's a real community. Our streets are an organic art gallery. We have an
incredible amount of culture per capita, but because there also exists such a
strong sense of peer support in Halifax you can really make a name for yourself
here if you take advantage of that. There are simple reasons too--like knowing
that you'll run into friends anywhere you go, but also having the space to explore
the city on your own. Oh, and being this close to the ocean is necessary for

AE: When did you start writing poetry and why?
WM: Since I could write my thought process has been poetic in nature. By that I mean
I tend to observe and think in poetic fragments. I was always such a bookworm I
suppose it seemed natural to write those thoughts down. When I was really young
I used to write books of poems and 'publish' them myself with markers and
staples. It was the first real voice I can remember having.

AE: What makes a good poem?
WM: An initial inspiration that is crafted to be (ironically) it’s most visceral
through extensive editing. A good poem should maintain a sense of rawness. It
should not only convey emotion, it should inspire it. I also believe personally
that a good poem will teach you at least one new word.

AE: Who are some of your favourite poets?
WM: Confessional poets, namely Ann Sexton & Sylvia Plath; also T.S. Eliot, Margaret
Atwood, Charles Baudelaire.

AE: What are your thoughts on the state of poetry in Halifax?
WM: I think it's really growing right now, thanks to some initiatives--like Donal
Power's guerilla poetry journal 'Open Heart Forgery' which breaks down a lot of
the barriers poets traditionally face in getting published. I love the idea of
all these 'closet poets' finally unleashing their work on the city. I know
there are some spoken word groups and many acclaimed poets in the area as well
so it's definitely a city that has a solid foundation as well as plenty of
potential for future generations of poets.

AE: What are your thoughts on the state of poetry in Canada?
WM: There are a lot of great, young Canadian poets these days and I think Canada for
the most part has a vibrant poetic culture. But as a public art form it still
seems relegated mainly to small, mostly academic circles. I guess I've always
admired countries where poets are treated as royalty, or at least revered in a
way that is either almost holy or at least of great import to the
socio-political conversation of that country. I think Canada still sees poets
only as artists, poetry as an art form--and maybe still doesn't acknowledge its
real potential as a method of speech. But we're not exactly a loud country
anyway so I suppose that makes sense.

AE: Has the internet helped or hurt poetry?
WM: That's a tough one. I'm sort of a literary luddite. I've found myself reverting
to older technologies in order to try and make my own poetry better, for
instance I bought a typewriter so that I wouldn't have the distraction of a
computer. I think the internet has been a great tool for educating and
promoting the spread of poetry in terms of access and awareness, but I don't
see it contributing to the quality of poetry. But perhaps that's just a

AE: What are you currently working on?
WM: I am always writing new poems & entering contests--working toward hopefully
having a manuscript finished sometime within the next year.

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