Poetic Inspiration with Michael V. Smith | Book*hug Press

Poetic Inspiration with Michael V. Smith

Introducing our “Poetic Inspiration” series! In honour of National Poetry Month, we’ve invited eight authors to share some poetic inspiration and advice. First up is an interview with Michael V. Smith, author of Queers Like Me.

B*: Please share up to three poetry books or poets that are important to you, and helped influence the writing of Queers Like Me. Please also share how they influenced your book.

MVS: Bronwen Wallace has long been a huge influence on my writing, from the way she stacks and turns her lines to her colloquial voice and her embodied feminism. Stephen Dobyns writes the best narrative poems. I’m super partial to his more allegorical ones. For space on the page, and trying to capture the voice in phrasing, I’ve been learning a lot from Ocean Vuong.

B*: Please share a writing prompt for aspiring poets that you have used to start composing a new poem.

MVS: Call your bestie and record yourself telling them a story, maybe something as simple as a bungle on the weekend. Then transcribe that text, and format it on the page to capture your voice and emphasis in the telling. Voila, a verbatim poem. (Like the first long poem, “Grandma Cooper’s Corpse,” in Queers Like Me.)


Michael V. Smith has published six previous books, which include three collections of poetry, a memoir, and two novels. Also an award-winning filmmaker, drag queen, and professor, Smith teaches at UBC Okanagan, in Kelowna, BC, where he lives with his brilliant husband.

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