with Samuel Strathman:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Samuel: I started writing four years ago. My first influences were some of the classic poets from a long, long time ago. Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Mikhail Lermantov, and Anna Akhmatova are a few names. Greg Santos and Shannon Bramer were some of the first Canadian poets I really got into.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Samuel: My biggest influences today are Chris Banks, Jason Heroux, Stuart Ross, David O’Meara, and Nelson Ball. I would also say that my visual art is influenced by a lot of visual poets such as Michael Orr, Mark Laliberte, and Richard James Biddle. Sometimes books are also good influences. “Syncope” by Asiya Wadud, “Time” by Etel Adnan and “Memory Foam” by Adam Soldofsky have made a great impression on me.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Samuel: I’d ben wanting to write a novel for years but could never really find my footing. Poetry had come more naturally to me in school so I decided to go with what I had a knack for.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Samuel: My girlfriend, Krystal, is usually the first person to get a crack at editing my work. Jim Johnstone, Robert Frede Kenter, and Kirby have also been integral to my success. Both Jim and Robert have been the main editors in my life. Kirby was the first person to offer me a chance to participate in a reading. Any editor who has published my work, interviewed me, or offered feedback has been of great help.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?
Samuel: I’ve lived in Toronto my entire life. I’d say that the work I have done with children in my city has been of great influence. They are always brimming with energy and ideas. I’d say that many trips to Simcoe County have been helpful to me in my writing. I tend to do less writing when I’m outside of the province.
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Samuel: The most meaningful writing I have done was for the first two and a half years. I had to learn from failure to rise above it.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Samuel: In no particular order: exercise, meditate, read, and spend time with Krystal. Friends and family keep me company when they can.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others? Or favorite piece of artwork?
Samuel: One of my favorite vispo books is “’Palingenesia” by Michael Orr. The collection definitely speaks for itself.
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Samuel: My first full-length poetry collection “Omnishambles” is forthcoming with IceFloe Press later this year. The book is a blend of speculative/surreal poems meets horror/sci-fi. I must thank Robert Frede Kenter for agreeing to publish this book. I wrote most of the poems during this pandemic. It was one of the things that kept me sane.
Samuel Strathman is a poet, visual artist, educator, and author. He is also the editor-in-chief of Floodlight Editions. Some of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pulp Literature, Cobra Milk, Blank Spaces, and other magazines and journals. He is the author of the chapbooks “In Flocks of Three to Five” (Anstruther Press, 2020) and “The Incubus” (Roaring Junior Press, 2020). “Omnishambles” is his first full-length poetry collection.