Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Poetry, Pasta and Prosecco: An Interview with Molly Peacock

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In an exciting new set of interviews, Open Book talks with the poets and moderators of Poetry, Prosecco & Pasta, a three-part intimate dinner series featuring moderated conversations with poets Molly Peacock, Erín Moure and Daniel David Moses.

First up is poet Molly Peacock, author of The Second Blush, whose dinner and discussion takes place at Grano Ristorante on Thursday, July 8. The night will be moderated by Olive Senior.

Open Book: Toronto:

If you could have a dinner party with five people, living or dead, famous or not, who would they be? Why?

Molly Peacock:

Sorry, I couldn't invite just five: My dinner party would all be composed of dead artists, writers, and poets -- plus two living people, me and my husband, Mike Groden. They'd all be there, the dead raised up into a SECOND BLUSH of living, and my husband and I in our SECOND BLUSH marriage. First I'd invite Mrs. Delany, the fabulous 18th century collage artist I've just written a book about. I' d ask her to bring both her recipe for orange pudding and her husband the 18th century poet and cleric Dean Delany. Then I'd invite the dead Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen, who would tell Irish ghost stories, the dead American novelist and food writer Laurie Colwin who's recipe for beet pasta I've been using for decades, the dead English novelist, Barbara Pym, to supply dry wit, the dead British poet Philip Larkin, friend of Pym, whom I admire, but who would probably drink too much (Pym could reign him in). Then I'd invite the recently dead Canadian poet Margaret Avison to cast her gimlet eye on us all, and the dead Canadian/American poet Elizabeth Bishop. We'll have to keep her away from too much Prosecco. Oh, I think I'd have to have Li'Ching Chao, the tenth century Chinese poet, and her husband, a scholar. Where is this party going?!!! Well, they'll have love Grano. And maybe Olive Senior could interview them too.


What is your favourite Toronto restaurant?


Grano, of course!


What elements would your ideal dinner entail (ie. Perfect company, favourite food, ideal setting)?


Well, first off all, there has to be pasta and prosecco! In the glasses of prosecco, some raspberries, just to give the drinks some SECOND BLUSH. Then poetry lovers and gossips. Gossips make for great dinner parties. And food that has a clean, natural, feel. Not all glommed up in sauces. Poetry makes the sauce. And last of all we must have artichokes, because there are two fabulous artichokes on the cover of THE SECOND BLUSH.


Name one food that describes Toronto to you and why.


Peaches and cream corn coming in by the bushelsful at the North Farmer's Market at the St. Lawrence Market. Toronto, for me, is a summer city.


What is your ideal writing environment?


My bed.


How well can you cook?


I'm not bad, if I have great ingredients, which I buy at the St. Lawrence Market (I live next door).


Tell us about the poems you'll be reading at Poetry, Prosecco & Pasta.


I'll be reading some love poems from THE SECOND BLUSH, published by McClelland and Stewart.

Molly Peacock is the author of six volumes of poetry, including The Second Blush (McClelland & Stewart, 2009), Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems (W.W. Norton), a memoir Paradise, Piece by Piece, and a one-woman show in poems, “The Shimmering Verge” produced by Louise Fagan Productions (London, Ontario.) She has been Series Editor of The Best Canadian Poetry in English since 2007, as well as a Contributing Editor of the Literary Review of Canada and a Faculty Mentor at the Spalding MFA Program. Her poetry, published in leading literary journals in North America and the UK, is widely anthologized. Her latest work of nonfiction is The PaperGarden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72 (McClelland & Stewart, 2010).

For more information about The Second Blush please visit the McClelland & Stewart website.
Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Olive Senior is the prize-winning author of a dozen books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collections include Summer Lightning (winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize), Arrival of the Snake-Woman and Discerner of Hearts. Her poetry books include Talking of Trees, Gardening in the Tropics (winner of the F.J. Bressani Literary Prize), and Over the Roofs of the World. She is the recipient of many other fellowships and awards including the Gold Medal of the Institute of Jamaica. Her work has been translated into several languages, published in numerous literary journals and anthologies and widely used in schools and universities. She conducts writing workshops internationally and has been writer in residence at several institutions, most recently at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

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