“In Conversation.” Interview with Jamal Ali. Freefall 26.1 (2016): 79-83.
Moi: “I doubt that any movement toward love is a failure. Reciprocated or not, the impulse in that direction is seldom wrong.”
Q: What do you think a poet’s “job” is?
A: (But folks get paid for jobs.)
“Cool Books for Hot Summer Days.” UCalgary Alumni Magazine. Interview with Deb Cummings. 21 July 2015.
Q: Whose sentences are your favourite, and why?
A: The American, David Foster Wallace, writes the most rambunctious, intelligent, relaxed sentences. The Brit, Zadie Smith, writes the best dialogue. The Canadian, Miriam Toews, is lately my favourite paragrapher.
“Week 25- Ian Williams presented by Robyn Read.” Celebration of Canadian Poetry. Brick Books. June 18, 2015.
I had double good fortune: I discovered Ian Williams’ writing in a slush pile in an office in Calgary, and soon after discovered we were going to be fast friends over a plate of French fries at a diner in Toronto. About a year later, my husband, Owen, and I sat with Ian by a lake and gave him our edits on another book he’d written, a collection of poems inspired by the personal ad. Two years later, at the Leacock Summer Festival about an hour away from that lake, Owen and I were part of an audience collectively riveted by Ian’s reading of “Rings,” the lead poem from that book, the Griffin Poetry Prize-nominated Personals. Two more years have passed, and now we’re all colleagues at Sheridan College. This may seem an unlikely story, too neat and seamless. But that’s just how circles work: it’s only now that I cannot see how picking up his manuscript could have led me in any other direction than to teaching with Ian, still reading and asking him questions about his work, including the poem “Rings.”
10 Trailblazing Poetry Collections, CBC Books, National Poetry Month feature.
Jittery, plaintive, and fresh, the poems in Ian Williams’ Personals are voiced through a startling variety of speakers who continually rev themselves up to the challenge of connecting with each other, often to no avail.
“Book Learning: Polling Wordfest authors on books they were forced to read.” Swerve. Calgary Herald. Interview with Jacquie Moore. October 10, 2014.
Q: A book you said you read but didn’t.
A: Even if I read 24/7, there would still be a precious Lithuanian poet (published only five poems, but what brilliant poems) who finds her way into party conversation. It bothers me when people ask, “Have you read this? Have you read that?” as a means of ego-inflation.
Writers Block. CJSW 90.9 FM Host: Emily Ursuliak. September 10, 2014.
Volmers, Eric. “Griffin Nominee Wants Poetry to be Relevant.”Calgary Herald. September 9, 2014.
It’s the sort of frankness that should make Williams an effective mentor when it comes to coaching other writers.
“Ian Williams, Canadian Writer-in-Residence.” FFWD: Fast Forward Weekly. Interview with Drew Anderson. September 4, 2014.
This newspaper went bust. Formerly, the article was here: http://www.ffwdweekly.com/life/your-face-here/ian-williams,-canadian-writer-in-residence
Tang, Stepahnie. “Introducing the U of C’s New Writer-in-Residence.”The Gauntlet. September 4, 2014.
(Brace yourself for a gigantic image of my face when you click the link above.)
Me: “I don’t want to read hundreds of poems about Twitter or Facebook or anything. But we shouldn’t pretend like these things don’t exist, and they haven’t changed how we communicate and how we use language,” he says. “I think poetry is big enough and strong enough to handle anything.”
McCoy, Heath and Caitlyn Cummings. “Connecting with Ian Williams, New Writer-in-Residence.” UToday. August 18, 2014.
Me: “I think we’re still stuck in a language from maybe 25 or 30 years ago, before this massive onslaught of technology. Technology has changed the way we use language, how we think, metaphors we use, our attention spans. It’s changed all of that, and I think this is the moment for poetry to respond.”
Nineteen Questions. Interview with Jennifer Spruit. February 3, 2014.
Me: Trying to be original is like trying to be cool.
“The Three R’s: Ian Williams.” Slightly Bookist. November 15, 2013.
Q: You can either write or read for the rest of your life, but not both. Which do you choose?
A: You’re asking me to choose between blindness and silence. Where’s the ethics board?
“The Poet’s Dinner Party: Dessert.” National Post. November 6, 2013. Interview with Michael Lista and Damian Rogers. Interviewer: Zoe Whittall.
Q from Zoe Whittall: If you could invite any poet or poets to a dinner party, who would you choose and why?
Ian Williams: I’d try to persuade Emily Dickinson to join me one winter evening for a slice of cake in a dim coffee shop. We’d sit near the back at a tiny round table and keep watch over the other’s scarf as it slips from the back of the chair. That’s as much as I could hope for. Maybe she will laugh.
“Ian Williams: Poet Seeking Reader,” National Post, June 7, 2013.
“I just knew this guy’s going to be one of the next big things in Canadian literature,” says Read.
CBC, Canada Writes, Magic 8, April 30, 2013
The premise is that I respond to eight questions posed by the Canadian literati.
Q from Cathy Marie Buchanan: How do you know when your book is finished?
A: Around draft 6, the microwave beeps. By that time, I’m eating more than cooking, reading more than looking.
The Griffin Prize Q&A: Ian Williams, National Post, April 20, 2013
Q: What’s one book you’d give to a young writer?
A: Margaret Atwood’s Power Politics. It begins my bookcase: top shelf, left side, like a cursor.
The Next Big Thing, April 3, 2012
Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A: I’ll do you better. Here’s the one-word synopsis:
The Lives of Others by Kathy Ullyott, U of T Magazine, winter 2013
“It’s not just emotion; not just packing a story full of anger or happiness,” Williams explains. “It’s to replicate that quality you can sometimes experience when you’re just falling asleep, when you’re somewhere in between consciousnesses . . . completely set apart, the only person in the universe. I try to get that level of truest privacy in a character.”
Stories for Thirtysomethings by Megan Power, The Chronicle Herald, September 2, 2012
Reading this collection stokes a longing for more Canadian literature with narratives set in large Canadian cities featuring young Canadians dealing with contemporary problems. Williams’ work feels astoundingly fresh and important because of its subjects’ connections to the here and now. Examining how people his age (33) are affected by the pressures and politics of modern life intrigues him.
Desk Space, June 4, 2009
DS Where do you write?
IW I write on my hand; meta that, in my pocket on a tiny steno; meta that, on a laptop that has the battery lifespan of a goldfish and overheats; meta that, in morning sun and silence; meta that, between Ontario and Massachusetts.