Apr 2, 2018
Jason Guriel is a poet and critic whose work
has appeared in such publications as Poetry, Slate, Reader's
Digest, The Walrus, Parnassus, Canadian Notes & Queries, The
New Criterion, and PN Review. His poetry has been anthologized in
The Best Canadian Poetry in English, and in 2007, he was the first
Canadian to receive the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry magazine.
He won Poetry's Editors Prize for Book Reviewing in 2009. His
essays and reviews are collected in The Pigheaded
Soul (The Porcupine's Quill, 2013). Guriel lives in
We met at the Toronto Public Library on College in rooms where
the Osborne Collection is kept. The collection was donated in 1949
by the English librarian Edgar Osborne in recognition of the
Library's outstanding service to children.
We talk among other things about The Pig Headed Soul,
the key to being a good critic, poems not poetry, obsessing, 'The
Case Against Reading Everything', Carmine Starnino, 'culture'
writing, confessional criticism, pop culture essays, the adoration
of poet Peter Van Toorn, 'world class' poet Robyn Sarah, the
importance of pleasure, thoughts the culture wont allow itself to
have, "I don't care about your Life', literary community, honesty
in criticism, response to reviews, Chris Wiman, Clive James,
Michael Hoffmann's Behind the Lines, William Logan, Jill Bialoski
and plagiarism, the Griffin Prize, dirty money, and