“The past is never dead”: an interview with Michael Crummey

sweetlandmichaelcrummeyRecently, I interviewed the Newfoundland writer Michael Crummey by email, and even the limitations of this digital medium couldn’t flatten the liveliness of the discussion. The interview is live today at The Winnipeg Review.

Crummey is the author of five volumes of poetry and four novels, as well as a collection of short stories. I wanted to ask him about his ghosts, who vividly people all his novels. His response:

Ghosts have been a central part of the folklore of Newfoundland for centuries, and that’s part of the reason they keep appearing in my fiction. But for me they’re also a metaphor for the ways in which the past plays an active role in our lives. The past is never dead, Faulkner said, it isn’t even past. And that is as true in Newfoundland as anywhere I’ve ever been.

I reviewed Crummey’s newest novel, Sweetlandfor The Rusty Toque in November, and his most recent collection of poetry, Under the Keel, for CV2 magazine earlier this year. (How do I love my job? Let me count the ways.)

Sweetland was shortlisted for the Governor General’s literary award and has garnered plenty of acclaim in its short (thus far) public life. What I loved about the novel was its hair-raising oddness. Crummey makes the reader familiar within the surreal–but never too comfortable there.

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