(July 7 to August 10, 2019)
Damian Rogers is a poet and writer who has worn many hats as a cultural worker in Canada since emigrating here in 2003. She has been the arts editor at an urban weekly, a poetry editor for both House of Anansi Press and The Walrus magazine, the creative director of non-profit educational organization Poetry In Voice, and the co-host and literary curator of The Basement Revue. The author of two poetry collections, Paper Radio (ECW Press, 2009) and Dear Leader (Coach House Books, 2015), Rogers is currently working on a memoir. She has taught poetry workshops for adults and youth since the late 1990s.
Here is how she describes her initiative during her 5 weeks of residency:
“My project will be an investigation into the possibilities of collaborative practice as a way to generate new work and to stimulate new forms in my poetry. I will be working toward my next collection, tentatively titled DAYS, which is focused on the intersections between daily practice, creative relationships, and community. I am interested in writing in conversation with other writers and other artists and in celebrating relationship, resonance, and community in the work I do. During the residency, I will be living and working creatively with my family: my husband, Mike Belitsky, and our son 6-year-old son, Levi. Levi and I have already created a number of handmade books about animals, aliens, crystals, and weather, and I’d like to extend this sense of play and improvisational practice into my own poetics. My husband is a musician; as a member of The Sadies, he has recorded with Neil Young, Garth Hudson, Neko Case, John Doe, Kurt Vile, and many others. Mike and I have performed together in the past — combining poetry with live instrumentation — and we will work on writing together and recording while in the Purdy house. I will also honour the history of the house as a meeting place for writers by inviting writers, visual artists, and musicians to visit and work collaboratively — or simply alongside me — during my five-week stay. I’ve long been interested in what could happen when artists collaborate and perform together in a more personal, domestic setting. People I’ve invited or plan to invite include poets and writers, such as Hoa Nguyen, Claudia Dey, and Canisia Lubrin; painters such as Laura Dawe and Andre Ethier; and musicians such as the Anishnaabe singer-songwriter Ansley Simpson, the Quebecois singer-songwriter Safia Nolin, Northumberland-based songwriter Kate Boothman, and the Wolastoq singer-songwriter Jeremy Dutcher. My hope is that this experience would spark new work for all artists involved as well as initiating new processes for my own poetry.
My community project will be to produce and host an eclectic night of performance highlighting the writers, artists, and musicians who visited me at the house, as well as showcase any collaborative works that emerged from the residency. Though not all of the artists who participate in the larger project will be available for the performance, I plan to find a way to present a sample of the most interesting material created in the A Frame.