Thursday, November 25, 2010

On the Sixth Day of Tesseracts: An Interview With Sandra Kasturi

TT:What is your name:
Sandra Kasturi

TT:What is your current location:

TT:Name of your story:
I have written nine poems in the Tesseracts 14 anthology, entitled collectively "Beautiful with Want" and individually:

Invisible Train
Moon & Muchness
Big Bee Story
The Medusa Quintet
A Curse for Alice
Talking with the Dead
Wild Boars in Berlin
Bluebeard's Grandmother

TT:What inspired you to write your story? (theme the anthology in this
way, select the authors for this anthology etc)

Lots of different things, as follows!

Rampion - This one is about Rapunzel. I wondered about what the life of someone literally locked in a tower since babyhood would be like. The only face Rapunzel has ever seen is of course the face of the old witch--that's her entire world. She wouldn't have any comprehension that other humans existed or looked different. So how strange and frightening it must have been when the prince showed up. And exciting too. But at it's heart, Rapunzel is about obsession and mother love gone wrong.

Invisible Train - I wrote this for one round of the Whittaker Prize competition last year. They hated it. I love the idea of a ghostly train carrying, well, ghosts all over the world, all on whatever strange business ghosts are about.

Moon & Muchness - This one was written for this "Sonnet a Week" project I did back in... 2006/2007, I think. It actually averaged out being about a sonnet every two weeks by the time I got done, but still--not bad, especially since I generally am very impatient with formal verse. But I really loved writing sonnets. I think
the rigid structure actually frees up other things. And of course I'm sort of giving a small nod toward Alice in Wonderland here.

Big Bee Story - Another sonnet, pure whimsy this time. And also considering the smallness of our place in the universe.

The Medusa Quintet - I write a lot of things reworking mythologies and fairy tales. Here, I wanted to consider things from Medusa's point of view, poor thing. Eddie Izzard, in one of his comedy bits on mythology talked about how Medusa's sisters are immortal while she is mortal. What a horrifying family dynamic that would make!

A Curse for Alice - Another sonnet, this one very firmly alluding to Alice in Wonderland which I deeply love for its cleverness and lunacy. Er, Alice, that is, not my sonnet. Heh.

Talking with the Dead - Yet another sonnet from that project. More of an atmospheric one than one with a plot. My favourite moment in this poem is this: "But hush/ Yourself to bed—lay down between the sheets/ Of your thready sorrow . . ." I love using language/words/images in ways that they weren't originally intended for. Fun!

Wild Boars in Berlin - This poem is based on an actual newspaper article about how wild pigs are in Berlin. Little stripey piglets running amok in flower markets and at the post office. It's adorable, though of course boars are quite dangerous, so it was causing a lot of controversy there, between those who wanted the animals contained or even killed because they were a danger to humans, and the environmentalists who wanted to save them. To me, these boars running around in the city felt mythic.

Bluebeard's Grandmother - I often think about the unknown relatives and secret lives of fairy tale characters. I wonder about what's going on behind the scenes of the stories we know so well. I'm betting Bluebeard probably had some nasty grannies.

TT:Since this collection is about Strange Canadian Stories, what is one of the strangest things that has ever happened to you personally?
In our old apartment, a kitchen sponge levitated itself off the counter and flew horizontally across the room before dropping to the ground. There was no wind. It was VERY odd.

TT: Do you have a strange question you would like to ask other authors?
What other Tesseracts author would you like to secretly be? And why?

Bio: Sandra Kasturi is a writer, publisher and editor. In 2005 she won ARC magazine’s annual Poem of the Year award. She is the poetry editor of ChiZine and the co-publisher of ChiZine Publications. Sandra’s poetry and fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, most recently Shadows & Tall Trees, Tesseracts 14, and the upcoming Chilling Tales. She managed to snag an introduction from Neil Gaiman for her poetry collection, The Animal Bridegroom (Tightrope Books). She is currently working on another poetry collection, two novels and a YA fantasy. Sandra recently won the 2010 Whittaker Prize for poetry.
(Sandra has asked us to please give photo credit to Weston Ochse, who took it in Brighton this past April at WHC. It's for his Elvis series.(

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