Episode #4: Adam Dickinson on Anatomic: How the Outside Writes the Inside
by Anna Bowen
I met Adam Dickinson at a poetry reading a few weeks ago in Ancaster, Ontario. His last poetry collection, The Polymers (House of Anansi) was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the ReLit award. In his new collection, Anatomic (Coach House), Adam has created a microbial and chemical autobiography. After testing his bodily fluids for microbes and toxins, Adam produced a work shaped by his findings. He says, “I think of my work as a kind of metabolic poetics… I think it’s possible to think of climate change and the anthropocene in general as an intervention in the metabolic processes of the earth.”
“What poetry does so well is shift frames of signification… to think of things in ways you hadn’t done before. It’s hard to care about things that don’t signify for you — that you don’t see. To make the invisible visible is one way of offering an opportunity for ethical engagement.”
Adam Dickinson is a poet and professor of poetics and creative writing at Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. His poetry is at the same time mindbending and urgent, pushing the reader to see the invisible in our bodies, in the anthropocene, and in the forms on the page.
Adam has two other books of poetry published with Brick Books — Cartography and Walking (2002) as well as Kingdom, Phylum (2006), which was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry.
For a run-down of what makes The Polymers so unique, check out this helpful analysis from the Ottawa U’s Faculty of Arts.
You can catch him reading on April 5th at Buddies in Bad Times for the Coach House spring books launch, 7:30-10PM (12 Alexander Street, Toronto).
Adam will also be having a book launch for Anatomic in St. Catharines on Saturday, April 14th from 4 to 6 pm at the Niagara Artists Centre (354 St. Paul St. E, St. Catharines).