Friday, October 3, 2008


I like a lot of space to spread out my work, especially when I'm editing stuff or going through student work, so my husband Toan turned a door into an extra big workspace for me. Outside the window is a hazelnut tree, currently full of contented squirrels. Sitting in front of my laptop is my dog, Toby, with his recent and very bad haircut. Toby has been a crucial contributor to my writing life for the past three years. While I work, he lies on a yoga mat you can’t see beside my desk, waiting for me to hit a snag so we can go out for a walk. How many walks he gets each day is directly related to how well my work is going.

Susan Glickman for DESK SPACE


SUSAN GLICKMAN Susan Glickman, poet, teacher, novelist, editor, and also mom, gardener, dog-wrangler, arthritic dancer.

DS When did you start writing?

SG When people ask me when I started writing I usually ask them when they stopped! Everyone makes up stories and songs and poems when they’re little, don’t they? I’ve never been able to put away childish things. I still do most of them: I make art, dance, mess around in the kitchen, and play outside.

DS When did you publish your first book?

SG The first book I didn’t put together with a three-hole punch and a red ribbon, Complicity, came out from Signal Editions of Véhicule Press in 1983. Luckily it’s out of print!

DS Where do you write?

SG I generally write at my desk, but I have written lots of other places—cafés and park benches and beaches and so on. I especially love writing on trains. I’m kind of envious of Zach Wells and Erin Moure for that reason!

DS Why you work where you do?

SG I have a home-office because I have always been the main caregiver for my kids. Now that they are teenagers and don’t need me as much, I still find it the cheapest and most convenient place to work. My other main jobs are often on the computer too—I teach online and do freelance editing. So I never have any wasted time; if I’m not working, I can do laundry or make soup or weed the garden or walk the dog. And if I feel compelled to write in the middle of the night, I just creep quietly upstairs with a cup of tea. So there’s a nice flow back and forth between my imaginative life and my domestic one. I always feel like a whole person.

DS What are you working on now?

SG I’m trying to finish my sixth collection of poems, Yarrow, and my third adult novel, Safe as Houses, and taking notes for a sequel to my brand-new-just-released-not-even-in-the- stores-yet children’s book,
Bernadette and the Lunch Bunch. And I have a short story percolating; it involves a dog, as do both the novel in progress and the photo I’ve sent you.


Anonymous said...

I know Susan personally, and I find her work intricately nuanced, and refreshingly free of purplish prose.

Her newest Children's book, Bernadette and the Lunch Bunch, is fabulous.

Her poetry is sublime, her fiction perfection. She is Canada's greatest living writer, period.

Go out and buy her books!

Zachariah Wells said...

Save your envy, Susan; working on the train's a lousy way to write on it! (Tho I have managed to dash off the odd little poem on the job.)

Rhea Tregebov said...

Susan is I'm sure, the only person around who's happy that Complicity is out of print; it's a terrific first book. Why do we all feel so bad about our first books? A little compassion for these younger selves?