Paulo da Costa
paulo da costa was born in Luanda, Angola and raised in Vale de Cambra , Portugal. He is a writer, editor and translator living on the West Coast of Canada. paulo’s first book of fiction The Scent of a Lie received the 2003 Commonwealth First Book Prize for the Canada-Caribbean Region and the W. O Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize. The title story also received the Canongate Prize for short-fiction in Edinburgh – Scotland. His poetry and fiction have been published widely in literary magazines around the world and translated into Italian, German, Spanish, Serbian, Slovenian and Portuguese. The Green and Purple Skin of the World, 2013 by Freehand Books is his latest book of fiction.
Issues:13 Recollecting a Literary Past: An interview with George Melnyk - Interview 13 "What I Remember From My Time on Earth" by Patricia Young - Review 15 Con Abismada Transparencia: interview and poetry by Coral Bracho - Interview 15 Interview and Poetry: Adrienne Rich - Interview 16 A Poetry without Frontiers: Visual Poetry by an & interview with Fernando Aguiar - Interview 16 Coral Bracho's 4 poems - Poetry - Translation 17 "A Dialogue with that Silence": filling Station speaks with Paula Tavares - Interview 17 "between borders, between tongues" - Nonfiction 17 Paula Tavares' 2 poems - Poetry - Translation 18 'filling Station' talks to Alberto Manguel - Interview 18 "The Literary Hitory of Alberta Volumes I and II; Threshold" - Review 18 TWO LINES - Review 18 misled - Review 18 Emergent Voices - Editorial 19 The Power to Create and Destroy: an interview with David Albahari - Interview 19 'Luna': a new journal of poetry and translation - Review 19 "The New French Poetry" by David Kelley / Jean Khalfa - Review 19 "Rip-rap" and "Meltwater", edited by Alford, McKay, Tregeboy, Wyatt - Review 19 "Swallowing Clouds: An Anthology of Chinese-Canadian Poetry", edited by Andy Quan and Jim Wong-Chu - Review 19 José Tolentino Mendonça's poem, Paula Margarida Pinho's poem, Rita Taborda Duarte's poem - Poetry - Translation 20 Bob Holman — THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF POETRY - Interview 20 "The Bare Plum of Winter" by Patrick Lane; Patrick Lane in Cab 43 - Patrick Lane - Review 20 "The Girls Who Dream Me" - Beth Goobie - Review 20 "All the God-Sized Fruit" - Shawna Lemay - Review 21 Eden Robinson Interview - Interview 22 Between Brutality and Tenderness: 'filling Station's' paulo da costa interviews Eugénio de Andrade - Interview 22 "Dark Domain" by Eugénio de Anrade; "Close to Speech" by Eugénio de Andrade - Review 23 Dionne Brand interview - Interview 23 Quincy Troupe interview - Interview 24 Poetry as a Language of Resistance: an interview with Ulrikka S. Gernes - Interview 24 The Hunger of Being: A collaborative interview: paulo da costa and Shane Rhodes talk with Verónica Volkow - Interview 24 Verónica Volkow's poems - Poetry - Translation 25 (untitled) - Art 25 Meadow: John Burnside - Interview 25 Patrick Lane interview - Interview 26 Imagining Alberta: Robert Kroetsch Interview - Interview 28 Dialogues and Polylogues: an interview with Erin Mouré - Interview 32 Ricardo Corona's poems, Mauro Faccioni Filho's poems - Poetry - Translation
Interview and Poetry: Adrienne Rich
Paulo da Costa: In our technological, violent, apathetical world, why does poetry matter?
Adrienne Rich: You start with a small question. (Laughs.) Poetry has always mattered, through human history, through all kinds of cultures, all kinds of violence and human desolation, as well as periods of great human affirmation. It's been associated with the power of the word, with the sacred, with magic and transformation, with the oral narratives that help a people cohere. In this disintegrative, techonologically-manic time, when public language is so debased, poetry continues to matter because it's the art that reintegrates words, speech, voice, breath, music, bodily tempo, and the powers of the imagination.
Poetry reaches into places in us that we are supposed to ignore or mistrust, that are perceived as subversive or non-useful, in what is fast becoming known as global culture. "Global culture" is of course not a culture: it's the global marketing and imposing of commodities and images for the interests of the few at the expense of the many.
In 1945, just at the end of World War II, the American poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote a remarkable book called The Life of Poetry. In it she says that on any particular day in the world, if poetry ceased to exist, it would immediately be reinvented on that same day.
Eden Robinson Interview
Paulo da Costa: "Queen of the North" is the last story in Traplines. In that story you introduce us to Karaoke and Jimmy Hill. What was it about those two charactrs that captivated your imagination to write Monkey Beach, your present novel?
Eden Robinson: I am a sucker for a good love story. I originally tried to write Monkey Beach from Karaoke's point of view but I quickly realized she was in no condition to narrate a book. I started writing from Jimmy's point of view. That did not work either. He drowned. You can only have so many flashbacks. But the sister who had a minor role in the short story was distant enough for a narrator. The more I put into that story the more I had to explain and that led to more and more stories and into a novel. I had never written a novel before and I was surprised how structure in a novel worked. It did not go anything like a novella or a short story. It was a humbling experience. I had to learn a lot of skills I thought I knew already.
Dialogues and Polylogues: an interview with Erin Mouré
paulo da costa: "energeia entelecheia transport parousia gram" (O Cidadán 12). Do we need to understand poetry for it to have value?
Erin Mouré: We "understand" poetry when it resonates with us, echoes with us, haunts us, piques our curiosity, compels us. That's what has value.
And just to situate fS readers: the line you quote (Such sounds! To be transported on such sounds!) follows the end of a poem early in O Cidadán, and is a type of line that appears in italics at the page end and acts as a kind of chorus of words... and like a chorus's chant, the individual words may not be fully audible; they are heard bits of words. The poem above talks about resisting appropriation. Don't you think the line resists appropriation? Yet if we know those words, or decide to look them up, they add gestures to the poem.
That kind of chorus appears as well as structure in an earlier book of mine, Pillage Laud (Moveable Text, 1999), so in O Cidadán it is also beckoning back to something in my own practice.
Poetry is what pushes at the borders of what we think "understanding" is. If by understanding we mean mastery (and, yes, that's a gendered term) or appropriation, then that is what O Cidadán argues against.
Which doesn't mean an argument to get rid of understanding in its conventional sense. We need it! But we need work that pushes, in different ways, at its borders too. That's where "value" lies.
Imagining Alberta: Robert Kroetsch Interview
paulo da costa: What is it about the Alberta landscape and the Alberta experience that in your writing has sustained your interest and your engagement through those separations and those years?
Robert Kroetsch: It was partly the feeling that the Alberta landscape was an untold story, that I had a whole map to fill in, a world to populate. It was not a named world, in a certain way, and writing is a type of naming, so I had this great freedom to name my experience.
pdc: Instead of homesteading a text and erecting fences around its borders, you wander over its territory as a nomadic presence. You move on before becoming too comfortable. What is the reason for this?
RK: I suppose the nomadic plays a big part in territory writing, including your own story. We become nomads because we don't want to fall off the edge of the earth. So there's kind of a debate going on with the fence, so to speak. You want to crawl out of the fence, or crawl over it, but in a certain way, you don't want the fence to disappear. When you come here, you're still aware of Portugal; there's a fence that's highly defined. And I find it interesting that you're publishing as a nomad and as a settled person. And maybe your life becomes emblematic at that point, it's where a lot of writers are.