Books·Magic 8 Q&A

David McGimpsey on country songs, Oprah and very important intersections

The author of Asbestos Heights answers eight questions submitted by eight other authors.
David McGimpsey is a professor at Concordia University and the author of Asbestos Heights. (Concordia University)

If Canadian poetry had a court jester, it would be David McGimpsey. The Governor General's Award finalist's latest book is Asbestos Heights, a questionable attempt to rebrand himself a "serious poet." 

Below, McGimpsey answers eight questions submitted by eight of his fellow writers in the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A.

1. Zsuzsi Gartner asks, "How do faith and science intersect for you as a writer?"

They intersect like Peel and Ste. Catherine while I'm stuck at Hochelaga and Pie-IX.

2. Donna Morrissey asks, "What are the biggest hurdles to overcome in your personal life while you're creating a book?"

Keeping up with my favourite shows. It's been a lot easier but much sadder since Oprah stopping making a show that seemed more fulfilling and more reliable than the earth itself.  

3. Shani Mootoo asks, "How do your closest family members treat you, the published — hopefully famous — author?"

They treat me as they always have — with kindness, support and the fun-loving care you'd imagine from the people who know you and love you best.  

4. Anthony Bidulka asks, "What has been your best experience with a reader of your work?"

A young man out West recited a poem of mine from memory. When I was that young man's age, committing poems I liked (Hardy's "Thrush," Lowell's "Skunk," etc.) to memory was something I often tried to do so this really touched me in that circular way.

5. Rudy Wiebe asks, "Who helped you most in becoming a writer? How?"

My mother. By being encouraging and optimistic about artistic pursuit (her solid working-class faith that you pursued the arts to "better yourself" — not as a career or for money or an ontological identity as a "poet") but without a stage mom's pushing desire to own or take credit for whatever we did.  

6. Charlotte Gill asks, "Describe your alter ego in personality and appearance."

My alter ego looks like Elvis Presley but, in personality, is more like Secretariat.  

7. Cordelia Strube asks, "Does everything you write have a vaguely identifiable purpose (i.e. a theme)?" 

YES. I heart Beyoncé.    

8. JJ Lee asks, "If you had to write a country song right now, what would the chorus be?"

Couche-toi-là, mon chum;

Toutes les portes sont fermées.

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