New Brunswick

Award-winning Canadian novelist returns to poetic roots

Newfoundland writer Michael Crummey says it is just in the last five years that he has returned to writing poetry

Giller Prize shortlisted author Michael Crummey releases first collection of poetry in 20 years

Author Michael Crummey publishes new collection of poetry "Little Dogs: New and Selected." (House of Anansi Press/Writers' Trust)

Newfoundland writer Michael Crummey says it is just in the last five years that he has returned to writing poetry after writing fiction for the last two decades.

Crummey has released a new book, Little Dogs that includes new and old poems he has written.

He.told Information Morning Saint John this week how his latest book is a return to his roots as a writer.

"I started out as a poet and wrote only poetry for years and then when I started writing fiction the poetry kind of, for awhile there it almost disappeared completely," said Crummey.

When he began writing the book, he feared that he had lost the poet's touch.

"It was a nice thing, I was kind of worried I had lost it all together. That was really the kind of writing I loved to do most," said Crummey

Crummey described his published collections of poems as a grab bag of whatever he wrote since the last book he published.

"Generally, I think because most writers are fairly obsessive people, there do seem to be one or two or three things that do seem to come through in the poetry that allow me to at least arrange the book around those themes," said Crummey.

Not a perfectionist

Crummey said when it come to his work, he is not a perfectionist.

"As I've gotten older, I'm more patient with stuff. When I'm not happy with something I will hold it back and just wait until I reach a point where I can muck with it in a way that didn't occur to me at the time," said Crummey.

The author said some of the stuff in his new book is seven or eight years old that he wasn't happy with when he wrote it but kept going back to it.

"There are things I will never publish just because I haven't been able to make it work yet," said Crummey.

Crummey said his poetry is more personal to him than his fiction writing.

"I'm not one of those novelists who takes my life and translates it into a work of fiction whereas the poetry is incredibly personal," Crummey. 

While Crummey plans to write another novel, he said he hopes he will still be able to write poetry at the same time as he did when working on his last novel, Sweetland.

With files from Information Morning Saint John