with Julian Day:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Julian: I started when I was nine or ten, writing stuff based on the fantasy novels I was reading at the time – Terry Brooks, Ursula K. LeGuin, and others. Around grade nine I started writing poetry, though I can’t remember what specifically caused me to start, and I remember the first poet whose work I really fell for being Shelley Leedahl.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Julian: Most recently writers like Kiki Petrosino, Mathew Henderson, John Burnside, and Robin Robertson. I’ve also been an admirer of Sue Wheeler’s work for many years now, and I love the way that all these poets can tell a story in such a tightly compressed space.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work/describe?
Julian: I was born in Vancouver, but we moved away when I was eight. I lived in Saskatoon until my early twenties. In many ways I consider myself to be a prairie poet, the way that landscape figures into a lot of my poems.
By and large I don’t write much based on travel – I seem to need a lot of time to let a place get into me – but I’ve written quite a bit based on a trip my wife and I took to Newfoundland a few years ago, particularly the area around Twillingate in the north-east.
Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
I really want to say my chapbook (“Late Summer Flowers”, Anstruther Press) because of how validating it felt to work on it, and how incredible the process was, start to finish. But I think I have to say my roguelike game, Shadow of the Wyrm, which I started ten years ago and first released back in 2015. I wrote everything – the engine, the game data itself, all the in-game text, nearly a thousand sprites – and the amount of time I’ve put into it (and will continue to put into it) is staggering. Last year a player told me it had helped him through a very difficult time in his life. Often it feels like so much of what I do creatively involves working through details in a dark room, so to know that my work has been genuinely meaningful to someone I’ll never meet is very humbling and gratifying.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Julian: No one moment, just the slow realization that I’m only really interested in a small number of things, so I always felt like writing was going to play some sort of part in my life.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Julian: Playing music, especially classical guitar.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?
Julian: Nothing upcoming planned, but I did release my chapbook back in January, with all the lack-of-travel/in-person promotion that a pandemic release entails. I’d love to see some sort of post-pandemic book tour involving lots of poets that released their work out into the ether during lockdown. In the meantime, maybe you, reader, would like to pick up a copy? I’m obviously biased, but it represents my best work over the course of twenty years, and I love it very much.
Q8: What is one of your favorite lines from a poem/writing of yours?
“this place has a thrum
felt in the chest like a drone
I lie ear to the ground
and yield to the wolf tones”
from “Field Notes, Cypress Hills”, from Late Summer Flowers
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Julian: From our emails on writing, contest links, phone calls about what we’re up to, books at Christmas to open me up to new writers – my mother, the poet Hilary Clark. And from the perspective of what it means to be a writer and citizen in the wider literary community, rob mclennan.