A Conversation With a Friend:
Stephen Leckie

Stephen LeckieStephen Leckie joined the Friends of The Malahat at our Fall issue launch in November, 2011. Malahat volunteer Alicia Lawrence interviewed him

It's great to know that you've joined The Friends of The Malahat. What was it that compelled you to keep engaged with Victoria's literary scene by joining The Malahat Review’s friends group?

Thanks very much. When I moved to Victoria last July, I was hoping to discover a community that was interested in literature. By becoming a Friend of The Malahat, I figured it would bring me closer to a group that wouldn't fall asleep while I talked about poetry. I am also from a small town and rarely is there a bustling literary conversation, let alone people who actually read the stuff.

You are currently a student in the University of Victoria's Department of English, and are writing poetry. What types of activities do you pursue in Victoria when you wish to encourage your creativity and hone your writing skills?

I am kept busy with school and family, so any skills and creativity have to be distilled from the present moment. I choose courses at the university that fit with my current interests. I am studying Marianne Moore at the moment. At some point (when someone shows up), I hope to be a part of a poetry collective, something that explores the possibility of “collectivism” in the creative process. Perhaps, most importantly, I am learning about the creativity of language from my nineteen-month-old son. He is full of excitement with the world he is discovering and creates his own sounds for the things he experiences. For example: dikka-da means motorcycle; he knows it, we learned it, and that pretty much makes it a word. I really love language because of that. One of these days I want to perform at the open-mic at the Solstice Café. I also read a lot.

Do you have any favourite writers that have been published in The Malahat Review recently?

Danny Jacobs. Matt Rader (both Fall 2011, #176). John Pass, way back in the Spring 2011 issue (#174).

How did you enjoy the “Best Foot Forward: How to Enter the Literary Conversation” workshop offered by The Malahat Review?

It was fantastic to be in a room full of fellow writers and receive tips on the process of submission. I keep reminding myself that particular publications like certain types of writing. With that in mind, I have been looking at the periodicals and creating writing prompts based on recurrent themes, images, forms, etc. (Wait! Don't print that. That is my secret to success).

All Friends of The Malahat had the opportunity to take home a free book at the Fall Issue launch in November. What book did you choose and why?

I chose Alanna F. Bondar's There are many ways to die while travelling in Peru. It was definitely the title and mention of Peru. I have always had a romantic fascination with the country: all the history, the adventure, and mystery. Funnily enough, this book dispels all those myths and suggests that an unnamed soft-drink company and the Peruvian Government created all of it for tourist dollars. It is written in a kind of poetry-prose that reads like a tourist diary/declassified military document.

I am told that you also volunteer for The Malahat Review on occasion. Do you have any exciting stories involving Malahat Review staff and editorial board members, or can you reveal any glowing incentives for others to volunteer a few hours of their time to support the magazine?

Well, there was this one time: it was a grey afternoon, or sunny, whichever is more fitting to the outcome of this story. I intently folded letters ... Seriously, volunteering is its own reward and we have great conversations and I am pretty easy on the eyes.