Thursday, February 26, 2009


My father's old teak desk

and a good luck charm shelf mounted next to my computer featuring from top to bottom: a miniature mannequin pisse, a grasshopper, an african trading bead, the letter G for the angel Gabriel, a Hungarian doll, a garnet, a piece of Norway and a metal frog.

Shannon Stewart for DESK SPACE


SHANNON STEWART Shannon Stewart: poet, children's author, teacher-in-training

DS When did you start writing?

SS When my family first moved to Vancouver I was given a typewriter that I set up on the dining room table. I hacked away at my first two 'pieces'; Wimmin's Lib and Animouls Are Nice. My grandfather ended up publishing them in his RA newsletter back in Ottawa. After such recognition, there was no looking back.

DS Where do you write?

SS At a narrow, leather-topped teak desk from my childhood home.

DS Why do you work where you do?

SS A mangy, poorly mended polar bear rug once hung on the wall above the desk and as a child I loved climbing up and tapping at the bear's glass eyes and yellow teeth. I would count the stitches of the many gashes an amateur taxidermist had stitched together. The bear skin is long gone, but there's a comforting shadow I associate with the desk, like the smell of tobacco and old maps that stay in its drawers.

DS What are you working on now?

SS Imagining how I'm going to captivate classes of teenagers with my fascinating lectures on semi-colons and diction. On the literary front, a children's book about Shakespeare which is strangely spilling over into a series of erotic adult poems about the Bard. I like working in two genres; what is forbidden in one, rises full force in the other.

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