Checking In: phafours poet: Sandra Stephenson

Sandra Stephenson was in the Air In/Air Out anthology over a decade ago. She publishes under the pen name Czandra. If you can’t place the name, maybe you read it here when I did another interview with her this spring. She has a few chapbooks out, as mentioned there.

PP: What have you read lately that lit you up? Why or how?

C: I record public domain books for, and recently I’ve worked on two (not complete yet, so not available yet on catalogue). They are both really well done stories about the life of First Nations peoples, including some legends. One is “The Shagganappi” by Tekahionwake (E. Pauline Johnson), and the other is poetry, “Echoes of the Forest,” by William Brown. Both books are from around 1903, giving insight into how storytellers, white and indigenous, thought of First Nations at that time, and it wasn’t all bad!

PP: I remember enjoying The Shagganappi. What’s life’s focus these days, literary or otherwise?

C: More literary than ever before. Now that I’ve retired from teaching, my life is taken up by haiku and tanka, a new publication, recording free on-line audiobooks, running a writers’ residence (Muskoka) and an artists’ residence (Parrsboro, Nova Scotia). I can’t foresee a time when I’ll ever get around to sifting through the gentle snows of paper records of past writings! I am entertaining writing a play, though…Two things I’m not doing anymore are organizing poetry events and editing other people’s manuscripts.

PP: What is underway or forthcoming?

C: Priority is, I have to make sense of my Covid journal. I think it’s a stand-alone thing, though if it waits long enough, it may get incorporated into something else, as many people are doing now….  just part of life in the past like any other 2- or 3-year period of study! It didn’t feel like that at the time, but it had elements of an intense, way-too-long workshop with field trips.

PP: What work do you have out? 

C: So glad you asked. Asking for trouble is my 2022 publication from Yarrow Press. A book of tanka in four times. [Watch for that being reviewed at Shohyoran.]

PP: Any author site or social media urls you’d like to drop?

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