Candidate #9: Shannon Borg , 42, The Ruby Group. Day job: lifestyle editor for Seattle magazine - covering wine/dining/entertaining


What is your biggest notable oddball


Shannon Borg for Poet Populist

Because she just looks like a poetess for the people.

Candidate #9: Shannon Borg, 42, The Ruby Group. Day job: lifestyle editor for Seattle magazine - covering wine/dining/entertaining


What is your biggest notable oddball talent?
I can darn. it's a lost art.

What organization nominated you, and what is your role in it?
The Ruby Group - I'm a founding member - we write together rather than critiquing work, and some members are teaching workshops together based on our model - and we are working on a book about writing groups.

Who is your favorite poet?
That, of course, is a tough one! I think i'm influenced a lot by Wallace Stevens and Sylvia Plath, but I also love the Surrealists - Andre Breton and earlier French poets like Baudelaire. I also definitely see Theodore Roethke as someone I admire for his strangeness, as well as Plath, for the same reason - they both are formalists in a sense - always inventing and very aware of form and rhyme, but also always breaking out of it - I also LOVE Gerard Manley Hopkins (a WEIRD poet!), John Donne, Kenneth Fearing and contemporary poets, too, of course, but no room here.

What's your favorite poem right now?
Oh god, that's hard. I'm reading a lot of Roethke right now, but his work, like Stevens, Whitman or Plath or many obsessive poets, is all one big long poem - so you almost have to see the whole body of work as one and just dive into it and get absorbed by it.

What would your campaign slogan be for running for Seattle Poet Populist?
VOTE FOR PEDRO! Well maybe not.
How about "Only connect." - E.M. Forster's famous quote from Howard's End -  seems like a good thought for a populist poet.

Your campaign's theme song?
ABBA "Take a Chance on Me" - a friend suggested it - I can just see the confetti falling onto the stage and all the guys in suits with their hands in the air....

Who is your biggest celebrity crush?
Crispin Glover - I like freaks.

Can you share an anecdote about poetry touching your life?
My dad used to write these wacky Seuss-like children's nursery rhymes for the kids - there were 7 of us - we each had our own poems based on us as funny characters..he'd teach them to us as very young children and we'd get up on the hearth and perform them...

What movie character do you most identify with?
I always thought Auntie Mame was a good role model. She was like a fatter, happier version of Holly Golightly.

If you couldn't write any more, how would you spend that excess time?
Painting - I'd love to have more time to paint!

How long have you been writing?
I suppose since I was very small - I remember loving limericks to a level of obsession and trying to write them when i was in 4th or 5th grade... but I think now kids are encouraged to write even younger - which is great. Still I think reading is more important as a kid - being exposed to EVERYTHING and just soaking in literature.

What poem has made you feel most uncomfortable? Has made you cry?
May Swenson's "Bleeding" is a disturbing and beautiful poem about
co-dependence, submission, control, domination and love...Here are the first
few lines

Stop bleeding    said the knife
I would if I    could said the cut.
Stop bleeding    you make me messy with the blood.
I'm sorry    said the cut.
Stop or    I will sink in farther said the knife.
Don't    said the cut.
The    knife did not say it couldn't help it but
it    sank in farther.
If    only you didn't bleed said the knife I wouldn't
have    to do this.

Have you ever used poetry to win someone over or get them in the sack?
Definitely! guys in a rock bands do it, why shouldn't we!

What's the most irritating aspect of the poetry scene?
I do think it is great that people perform their work. But sometimes readings are just excruciating! Mainly its because poets, myself included are so freaking self absorbed that we can't see what is happening out
there...we think other people care about our anytime people can be funny or amusing at readings, god bless 'em.

What was the last good book you read and fell in love with?
I just reread Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned - so goddamn depressing - I love that.

Why should you win?
I think Molly Tenenbaum should win, but I do think it would be a fun thing to do - I'd love the chance to write the obligatory poems and read with other local poets!

If elected Poet Populist, what would be your first order of business?
Call a meeting of all poets - 'paper poets' and performance poets, hermits and rock stars - storm some bar and have a marathon writing session - where people would bring and pass out prompts and exercises, write for an hour all together, then read for each other...

To vote for Shannon, go here. 

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