Thursday, March 12, 2009


Jim Johnstone for DESK SPACE


JIM JOHNSTONE Jim Johnstone (born 1978) – reproductive physiologist, publisher of Misunderstandings Magazine, poetry editor for Cactus Press. Decaffeinated coffee only.

DS When?

JJ It’s difficult to pin down the origins of any behavior. Plotting Choose Your Own Adventure story arcs on hour-long commutes to elementary school (age 8) was a literal beginning. My first published poem appeared in Acta Victoriana in 1998, my first scientific article in Reproductive Sciences in 2005. The release of my first full-length book of poetry, The Velocity of Escape (Guernica Editions, 2008), was the culmination of years of juvenilia.

DS Where?

JJ Everywhere. Each summer I retreat to my family cottage in Apsley, Ontario where I write, sleep and fish on a little island with my partner Sandy Pool. Sandy’s a writer as well, and as an editor is much more important than place to my work. Back in Toronto, I generally write on my MacBook in bed or at my lab in the Medical Sciences Building at the University of Toronto.

DS Why?

JJ A cold apartment and general space/time constraints generally rule my writing habits. This spring, my creative bursts have been limited to time between antibody applications during Western Blots.

DS What?

JJ Two books of poetry, the first of which includes a suite of poems that won a 2008 CBC Literary Award. The second is a hybrid-media long poem that includes illustrations by a wonderful artist and friend, Julienne Lottering. I’m also in the process of editing chapbooks by Mark Laliberte (Suture Variations) and Edward Nixon (Free Translation) for Cactus Press, and vetting the 12th issue of Misunderstandings Magazine.

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