On processes and becoming

The warm weather isn’t here yet, but we can still dream! Come take a trip with us as we explore the past and present inspirations for our Spring 2018 authors’ work.

We spoke to Eric Schmaltz to see what sparked the creation of his new release, Surfaces, and what continues to inspire him. Last but not least, we’ve got his author-curated playlist that serves as the perfect accompaniment to his exciting new work.

So crack open one of our fantastic titles, put on your headphones and enjoy!

What inspired the creation of your work / how did it come to be?

Its becoming is still ongoing. Between the submission and the editorial phase and the many other times I’ve “written” it, the book became over and over again. Even as it enters the world, it will become repeatedly, I hope. All of this is to say the old thing that is said about books: a book is a process. Surfaces foregrounds this; it is a book about processes––things coming apart and things coming together.

What I’ve enjoyed about “writing” Surfaces is exactly the processual aspect of bookmaking which continues even after you’ve had to give it up. For example, I’m curious about the process of seeing the surfaces of these pages. I’m curious about the ways other eyes assemble meaning from what they see, the way every page presents itself as a Rorschach blot. Interpreted by the eyes of others, these poems have become tar sands, floor plans, mandalas, ice rinks, templates, skyscrapers, windows, and gravesites. I have not seen any of those things. Surfaces is a scarcity of information that seems to signify a lot.Surfaces by Eric Schmaltz

The poems in Surfaces were not really conceived for the surface of the page. They were always beyond the page, and always intended to become something else. These poems are to become loops, programs, songs, toys, tweets, and textiles; they are to become on the internet and on the sidewalk; they are to be processed by your word processor and left on your bedside; they are to be gazed upon and held. The surface for Surfaces is long and frictionless, I hope.

When Maurizio Lazzarato writes, “The semiotic assembly line not only produces knowledge and information but also attitudes, stereotypes of behavior, and submission to hierarchies,” he is suggesting that standardized communication locks us into a mode of being––for some, this is troubling. An antidote, then, is a semiotic assembly line gone haywire, an assembly line that never assembles the same product. The antidote is endless variation and infinite permutability. Among its many indulgences, Surfaces indulges the possibility of possibilities.

What’s something that you can count on to stoke your creative fire?


What are your current top 5 reads of late?

1. Kith by Divya Victor
2. Full-Metal Indigiqueer by Joshua Whitehead
3. Buck Studies by Douglas Kearney
4. Soucouyant by David Chariandy
5. Furious by Erin Mouré

What are you working on right now?

  • Since I’ve finally had to give up on Surfaces, I’ve started working on a series of a new poems that I won’t say too much about here.
  • I have the honour of being the first guest editor for NOT YOUR BEST, a new periodical published Kirby of Knife | Fork | Book. This first issue will focus on visual poetry.
  • I’m writing a book review for The Puritan.
  • I’m just about done writing my dissertation for a Ph.D. in English.

If your book was a cocktail what would the recipe look like?

The Assembly Line

– Any amount of anything
– Any number of cubes of ice

Instructions: Do whatever you want with it.

Eric Schmaltz is an artist, writer, & educator living in Toronto. Eric works across a variety of media including print, sound, performance, and video with work featured in Canada, the United Kingdom, and United States. His writing has been published in Jacket2, The Capilano Review, Poetry is Dead, Lemon Hound, and Open Letter among other places.

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