Prathna Lor is QWF’s featured member for November. Prathna is a poet, essayist, editor, and educator based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Their work has been published in Canadian Literature, DIAGRAM, C Magazine, Jacket2, and Plenitude Magazine, among others. Their poetry collection, Emanations, is a finalist for the 2022 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry.
QWF Communications Officer John Wickham spoke to Prathna about their book, their craft, and what’s next for them. Here are five questions for Prathna Lor.
1) Your poetry collection, Emanations, weaves together many themes: fragmentation, commodification, identity. What do you see as the connection between these themes?
The connection is predominantly made through grief—but also how this can serve in small, sometimes barely noticeable ways, as a musical wellspring for living. The myriad ways that structural violence shatters us, alienates us, disfigures us, estranges us—all of the ways that we are maimed (conceptually and physically) leaves us with remnants. Remnants of self, as well as remnants of community. And, so, what is the sound of living in that inarticulatable space of being? How precious is that sound? How can we cherish without property? Without ownership? The we – and collective voice overall – are intentionally open and opaque as a potential threshold for a shared communion.
2) How has your writing practice evolved over time?
I think it has remained relatively consistent insofar as I feel so much accumulating in the body, over time, and eventually I reach a point where I need to give texture to those accumulations. I am trying to be more disciplined, in terms of practicality, but I can’t imagine my writing as being anything other than a visceral metamorphosis.
3) What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t let the poem write you.
4) What are you reading at the moment?
Fuminori Nakamura’s My Annihilation.
5) What’s next for you?
I’m working on a longer prose-ish project; I suppose it is a kind of novel. It is mainly about the failure of narrating personal history, its incompleteness, its risks and contours. Many writers have already investigated this question of language and narration—specifically the failure of language to captivate, which in of itself becomes formalized as poetics but I am trying to go beyond that. It is also a very personal project.
Thank you, Prathna!
Emanations by Prathna Lor is available online and in most major bookstores.
The winner of the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry—along with the winners of the other QWF Literary Awards—will be announced at the QWF Gala on the evening of Monday, November 14.