Poets in Profile: Rhea Tregebov Open Book Toronto
Rhea Tregebov is the author of All Souls’ (Vehicule Press). Her seventh collection (and her first since 2004), All Soul’s confronts the inextricable fears of both change and standing still.
Today we speak with Rhea as part of our Poets in Profile series, and hear from her about the poetry of Raymond Carver, the poetic possibilities of public transit and her tips and tricks for a poem that has stalled.
Find out what inspires, confounds and delights today’s Canadian poets by following our series.
Can you describe an experience that you believe contributed to your becoming a poet?
I grew up bookish and often home sick from school, so from an early age lived, to some degree, in my head. But I think it was a junior high school English teacher who really set me off on the road to becoming a writer. She was the only teacher who encouraged us to do creative writing, an unusual activity in those days in the schools, and her considered praise of what I wrote made me believe in my writing.
What is the first poem you remember being affected by?
This goes back a very long ways, before I could read. My mother is a beautiful storyteller and she had, and still has, passionate convictions about social justice. So I remember listening spellbound as she recited “The Song of the Shirt” by Thomas Hood, a lament for working class oppression. The first verse went: “With fingers weary and worn,/ With eyelids heavy and red,/ A woman sat, in unwomanly rags, /Plying her needle and thread– / Stitch! stitch! stitch! /In poverty, hunger, and dirt, /And still with a voice of dolorous pitch / She sang the “Song of the Shirt.”” I can still hear my mother’s voice reciting it and feel the strength of her belief that this was not how the world was supposed to be.For the rest of the interview, go to http://www.openbooktoronto.com/news/poets_profile_rhea_tregebov