Torontoist’s Poetry Contest winners were announced last month, and thus far we’ve presented Matthew Tierney’s “The Man who Knew from Cool” (Honourable Mention) and the winning poem, “Eaton’s Effluviad,” by Gregory Betts. We’d like to introduce you to another local poet, Jenny Sampirisi, whose poem, “Velocity,” also received an Honourable Mention.
Jenny holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor and is currently working with The Scream Literary Festival. Check out her text/art site, Other Clutter, where she publishes writers from near and far alongside her own work. Her poems have appeared in Carousel, Misunderstandings Magazine, filling Station, and American poet Dan Waber’s minimalist concrete; you might remember Jenny from the recent Riff Raft, where she took part in sound performances with six other Toronto poets. She is currently working on a collection of poetry and finishing a novel–she’s definitely a young writer to watch. We asked her to tell us about her poem, “Velocity”:
I moved back to Toronto last summer after seven years of studying in Windsor. The city was very much a new and overwhelming text. I was writing ad copy for eight hours, I was eavesdropping on subway conversations, I was staring at bpNichol poems on the bus, I was listening to the driver sing the stops, I was walking past the word GHETTO? scrawled in graffiti down a pristine laneway. It strikes me that Toronto can be a very textual and performative landscape. This poem is my reaction to the pace of the city outside my window at Ossington and Davenport and the city on the page that continually shifts.
Read Jenny Sampirisi’s “Velocity” after the break.
Photo courtesy of the author.
by Jenny Sampirisi
or humid architecture straightens
a bad back and warm seats are about
crowding the city drift of de-boned
skin on moving stairs wait we’re rambling
toward the tree line where i or you grew
up thinking of the rural in urban
context a sudden edge and this
is the tallest building on pavement so
move through torsos or warehouses
into the tissue of subways full of labour
exhaling faster so the next word is always
a space or a body relocated in syntax