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This interview is taken from PN Review 270, Volume 49 Number 4, March - April 2023.

In conversation with Evan Jones
‘The civilising discourse’
Nyla Matuk
This interview was conducted via email between 18 June and 9 July 2022.

Nyla Matuk was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. She holds an MA in English from McGill University and is the author of two books of poetry: Sumptuary Laws (2012) and Stranger (2016). She is also the editor of an anthology of poems, Resisting Canada (2019). In 2018, she served as the Mordecai Richler Writer in Residence at McGill University. She works for the Department of Canadian Heritage arts sector and lives in Montreal.


EJ: Your poems have always been critical in their thinking – but beginning with the 2019 anthology you edited, Resisting Canada, there is a clearer political agenda. What were your motivations for putting the anthology together?

NM: It’s fair to say the motivation for the anthology is rooted in my curiosity about the variability of poetry – how language might be both compelling and accountable outside matters tending to the personal; and how it might address the urgency of collective political consciousness with the consideration of social conditions. Or perhaps a consciousness of injustice. My political or justice awakening – a noticeable uptick in such consciousness – began in 2014, when for fifty-one days the world watched the merciless bombing of Palestinian refugees living in the region of historic Palestine known as Gaza, under blockade since 2006.

Seeing those fifty-one days via Twitter and other media left me physically numb and psychologically horrified. At ...

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