These days I write a few nights a week. I’ll put in a good day’s work then head out to buy some groceries or a couple of IPAs, and I’ll come home with a line blazing in my head. If I get that kind of start I’ll probably go for a few hours.
I have a small writing desk near the front window. Mostly I use a typewriter here; the platen’s old and rubber stiff, so I double up the pages to soften the key strikes. Still I like to hear it bang. It’s physical, rhythmic; j’affirme ma présence.
I like images and objects and places and how they age or stay the same. If I repeat and re-contextualize certain words, it’s like they mature or ripen. When a poem’s ready the words complete the syntax. I like how a word can change a poem. I adore finding it and placing it and turning the key and feeling the click.
I write in notebooks, and I write on my phone, on the backs of receipts, grocery lists, the inside pages of books, whatever’s around. I type drafts of a few poems at a time, then revise on my computer. Lines come when I’m walking or dreaming or cooking. Sometimes they work out and often they don’t. But sometimes they do and that’s the great magic.
Robert Martin Evans is a freelance translator and editor. His poetry has appeared (or will appear) in Vallum, Vending Machine Press and Oratorealis, and as one of the Wall Poems of Charlotte. In 2012, he was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. He is a member of the selection committee at bywords.ca.