‘Anything can inspire poetry’

Dave Margoshes read from his latest poetry anthology at the John M. Cuelenaere Library on June 11, 2018. Photo courtesy Lynda Monahan

Whether drawn from personal experience or something he’s seen, Dave Margoshes is back with his first poetry anthology in eight years

It has been eight years since the last time Dave Margoshes released a poetry collection.

The author was in Prince Albert Monday for a reading of his latest book, a Calendar of Reckoning, his new poetry collection that, according to a description on mcnallyrobinson.com, touches on family, death, love, longing and retrospection.

It was a small, but “enthusiastic” crowd, Margoshes said, with friends from P.A. as well as strangers in attendance.

“It was ok,” he said, “but people don’t come out to readings the way they used to.”

The enthusiasm from the small Prince Albert group is not uncommon for readers of Margoshes’ work. A Calendar of Reckoning got a good review in Quill and Quire, the trade magazine of the publishing world. He’s also heard from a lot of people who say they really like the book.

Margoshes, who is originally from New York but now lives on a farm near Saskatoon, won the Anne Szumigalski Poetry prize at the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards for his previous poetry collection, and is a well-known author in the Canadian literary scene.

“I write poetry all the time,” Margoshes said. He collects the works over time.

“Eventually when I have enough … I put together a collection. It takes as long as it takes.”
Like many poets, he pulls from his lived experience.

“I mine my own life quite a bit, as I think most poets do, which is not to say they’re autobiographical,” he said.

“But things that happen to me will wind up in a poem in another form, or I’ll write about childhood memories, but I also write about things I see, things that happen on the news.

“I haven’t written anything about Donald Trump and Korea yet, but that could turn into a poem. Anything can inspire poetry.”

Margoshes couldn’t say whether the personal or the political inspire him more. It all sort of flows.

“You could describe some poems as looking inward, and other poems as looking outward. I write both kinds,” he said.

“I write fiction too, and non-fiction. I used to be a journalist. I have written thousands of newspaper stories over the years. I consider myself a fiction writer who also writes poetry, rather than the other way around. On days when the prose muse has taken the day off, I write a poem.”

While Margoshes has retired from the world of journalism, he won’t be putting down the pen anytime soon.

“I write every day,” he said. “If it’s in your blood, it’s there, it’s like a virus. Writers don’t retire. We just keep chugging along.”