An interview with Clementine Morrigan

Clementine Morrigan – writer, filmmaker and professional tarot reader– is about to release her second collection of poetry The Size of a Bird. Soliloquies Anthology web content editor, Megan Hunt, recently sat down with them to chat about its upcoming release.

Megan Hunt: How has your writing evolved since the release of Rupture in 2012?

Clementine Morrigan: I wrote Rupture in active addiction and early sobriety. It’s a work that comes straight from [a] place of struggling to survive. The Size of a Bird grapples with some of the same themes as Rupture: trauma, violence, addiction, desire, but it does so from a different place. Writing for me is deeply tied up with my own process of recovery, healing, and growth, so as I change, so does my writing. 

Hunt: Your poem Anyway, which was published in Soliloquies 21.2, discusses the dirt of Toronto’s Don Valley river.” I know our poetry editors were especially drawn to the last line “but I love the water/ like I love myself:/ anyway”. How does The Size of a Bird continue to tackle these questions of what is good and lovable versus what is ugly and therefore unlovable?

Morrigan: My work is deeply invested in loving and staying with what is, even as we work towards healing and justice. Anyway looks at the relationship between loving my traumatized mind and loving this polluted, deeply harmed world, and then using that love as a starting point for the work of justice, healing, and change. The Size of a Bird explores the intersections of trauma, sexuality, and desire. Despite dealing with heavy themes including violence, addiction, and suicide, The Size of a Bird is a book about survival and hope and the power of staying alive. I am really interested in demonstrating that as survivors of violence we are literally fucking magic.

Hunt: “You have described The Size of a Bird as “refusing to shy away from difficult topics.” How have you worked to maintain this honesty within your writing? Has the way you approach this honesty and rawness changed?

Morrigan: I write about a lot of things which are considered to be taboo to talk about. I write about sex and desire, trauma and surviving violence, and especially the places where these converge. My writing is often described as raw because of the way I engage with these themes directly. My relationship to these themes has changed, and deepened as I have grown in my own recovery. But my commitment to writing about the things I have always felt silenced and shamed about remains strong. My writing is a magic spell, an attempt to carve out space for our secrets, to name the things we are not allowed to talk about.

Hunt: You’ve also released a zine series, Fucking Magic and it mentions your position and privilege as a white person and colonial settler in Canada. How do you think white writers can work to acknowledge privilege in their works and literary communities, and why do you feel it’s important for you to do so in your own writing?

Morrigan: As I explore themes of violence in my work it is important for me to name and to recognize the violence that grants me access to the land I am living, and writing, on. Within literary communities an important part of this is promoting and supporting the work of Indigenous writers, Black writers, and writers of colour.

If you are interesting in reading  The Size of a Bird, it will be available to purchase after its Montreal launch on October 12th, 2017. The event is being held at L’Euguelionne, 1426 Rue Beaudry, and starts at 6pm.