The Culture Nerd: Angela Rawlings

Angela Rawlings, or a.rawlings, is a Canadian poet and interdisciplinary artist. Her first book, Wide slumber for lepidopterists (Coach House Books, 2006), received an Alcuin Award for Design and was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award; the book is currently being translated into French. As the recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship, angela spends 2009 and 2010 in Belgium, Canada, and Iceland working on her next manuscripts, researching sound/text/movement with special emphasis on vocal and contact improvisation, and collaborating with local artists. In Reykjavík, she occasionally facilitates impromptu writing workshops.

The last book that made an impact on you:

Notes for Soloists by Cia Rinne. Cia read much of the book for the 2009 Nýhil Poetry Festival in Reykjavík, and both her precise performance and condensed multilingualism had me wide-eyed.

A film that touched a nerve:

So many: the 1996 French film Ponette, the 1998 Japanese film After Life, Peter Greenaway’s documentary on Meredith Monk, Sigur Rós’ Heima, The Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski, Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom… Today, however, I’m feeling most touched by The Princess Bride, which has cheered up my under-the-weather self á la Fred Savage.

Who should play the lead in a film about you?

I’ll leave that at the discretion of Miyazaki Hayao and Studio Ghibli.

What CD should the reader put on while reading this?

Natural sound recordings of wolves, waves, and elves. (úlfa, veifa, og álfa??)

Favorite poet:

I tend not to favour poets, but do have poems that visit me often. At the moment, I’m haunted by Aase Berg’s “In the Guinea Pig Cave” (translated from Swedish to English by Johannes Göransson). LINK: http://www.conduit.org/online/aase/aase.html

Memorable teacher:

My Toronto-based voice instructor, Fides Krucker, taught me to bloom open my anus, perineum, and vagina in order to relax my pelvic floor and create more space in my resonating chamber.

What was the last lesson you learned?

I last learned how to use a ginkgo biloba tincture… “Take fifteen to twenty drops in a small amount of water, three times per day, fifteen minutes before meals. Salivate before swallowing.”

Most notable undiscovered artist:

Apis Mellifera Linnaeus.

Somebody‘s taking your profile picture – what should the background be?

Snæfellsnes, possibly Bjarnafoss or Kirkjufell.

Where is the dream?

Snæfellsnes, possibly Bjarnafoss or Kirkjufell.

A good advice for saving money during the financial crisis:

Get pissed off, not piss-drunk.

What is your most memorable food experience?

I once sampled over twenty different kinds of honey in the span of eight minutes; hallucination and increased heart rate ensued. And then there was that foodgasm induced by chocolate mousse in Béziers, France…

What’s the most important person you’ve gotten drunk with?

A lover.

What music fits the times?

A mixed playlist called “Fólk, jú!” that includes Sam Amidon’s I See The Sign, Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me, and Owen Pallett’s Heartland, with generous doses of The Be-Good Tanyas, Grizzly Bear, and Amidon’s Bedroom Community compatriots Daníel Bjarnason, Ben Frost, Nico Muhly, and Valgeir Sigurðsson.

Where is your love?

I am too shy to speak much Icelandic out loud yet (æ, this dastardly Canadian accent), though I will construct sentences and whisper them to pets and plants when no one else is nearby; Atli’s kitten, Steingrímur, got an earful of sweet nothings recently.

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