Q and A with Writer and Artist Katie Vautour
Katie Vautour’s debut poetry collection, An Unorthodox Guide to Wildlife, has just been released by Breakwater Books. NQ caught up with the author (and director of Piper’s Frith Writing Retreat) and lobbed a few questions.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a visual artist and writer who has participated in residencies in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the Banff Centre. Anyway, I’ve shown my work all over Canada, and I like animals and pets, and cooking good food.
How did you come to write poetry?
Well, to be honest, I was always “that nerdy kid” who liked books more than socializing, but I received some free tuition certificates from a previous job years ago. And I wanted to get my Master’s in English, so I thought, “Okay, poetry is optional, but it should be interesting for one class!” … And now I have a book, somehow.
Is there a theme to your poetry?
It mostly focuses on animals and the natural world, and how they represent human existence.
What brought this book together?
Since I’ve been writing, it’s mostly been supportive people who told me to keep going with it, despite (potentially difficult) circumstances. So I am very thankful to all of them.
Do you write in other forms, create in other media?
I also do visual art (mostly mixed-media pieces of creatures or landscapes), and I have a play in the works.
What artists, not necessarily writers, influence you?
Um, does he count as an artist, but David Suzuki? I’ve been watching his show since I was five, since I love animals.
What artists, not necessarily writers, do you wish received more attention?
I must say, I really enjoy Anne Compton’s work, most of which is based about or around Prince Edward Island. I heard her read once, and she was fundamental to getting me where I am today (even if she doesn’t know it). She won a Governor General’s Award a few years back, but I’m not sure if she’s noticed much out of the Atlantic provinces.
Do you have a work routine?
I generally start out my day writing or making things, but after that, depending when I have the time, it could be wherever (ie coffee shops, a short break from jobs, etc). Sometimes I simply see something that’s interesting and I want to describe it.
Don’t miss Vautour’s book signings this weekend! See poster above for further details.