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Kristen Wittman
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Kristen Wittman published one volume of poetry, Stone Boat, in 2004 and has a second coming out this year, Death Becomes Us, both by Turnstone Press. She lives in Winnipeg.
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Welcome / Bienvenue
This is a gallery of work specially created for #ThinAir2021. Spend time with writers you love, and discover some new favourites! Ceci est une galerie de travaux spécialement créée pour #ThinAir2021. Passez du temps avec des écrivains que vous aimez et découvrez de nouveaux favoris!

Kristen Wittman was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and spent her formative years on a farm just past Headingley Gaol. She has practiced law as a partner at Taylor McCaffrey LLP since 1996. In 2004 Turnstone Press published her first volume of poetry, Stone Boat. This year, Death Becomes Us will be her second poetry collection to be published by Turnstone Press. She splits her time between Winnipeg, and when the border restrictions ease, Minneapolis. She is enthusiastically looking forward to Thin Air 2021.

Interview / Entrevue

Hmm, this is a tough one. I don’t recall ever hiding books from my parents. I recall watching TV shows that I’d been told not to watch, and getting caught, but my parents were generally in favour of me reading and let me read whatever I wanted. The only occasion when that maybe wasn’t entirely correct was the summer I was about 12, and my mother hid Harriet the Spy from me so that I would go outside and play – she was tired of finding me curled up in a corner reading, I guess, and wanted me out in the fresh air.

This is hard too – I have so many favourite lines! Maybe my favourite is from a WH Auden poem, Musee des Beaux Arts, which is a beautiful poem inquiring on the effect of disaster on those that are not immediately touched by it (in this case, considering the disaster of the fall of Icarus, in a painting by Pieter Bruegel).

"The ploughman must have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, but for him it was not an important failure."

Clean, clean, clean. I hate a cluttered desk, it makes me panic.

What doesn’t? Work problems, mostly, but then sometimes it’s something I said at dinner, or something really silly like whether the deer are eating my tomatoes or if I remembered to lock the back door. It’s amazing how overwhelming everything seems in the middle of the night. I have learned (by reciting poems) to stop thinking and I can usually fall back to sleep pretty quickly – and when I wake up in the morning I laugh at whatever it was.

Well, if I revealed, then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore… actually, though, I don’t think I have a secret ambition. I had ambitions that I’ve abandoned, because I either grew out of them or because I came to realize that I couldn’t be any of those things: like an Olympic athlete (my first ambition was to run track, and then it was to get onto the Canadian field hockey team, and then it was to be a pro cyclist – not even close on that last one!); a pianist (I can play, I just prefer if no one has to suffer through listening); as I get older I’ve been ratcheting back – my current ambition is to have a nice garden. Might achieve that, someday, if I could figure out how to keep the deer away!

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