Aritha van Herk: Essays on Her Works

edited by Christl Verduyn

Essays on Her Works is the first book-length study of AvH’s books, taking what editor Christl Verduyn calls, “a step towards addressing this lacuna in Canadian literary criticism.”

“People often ask ‘What do you do?’ I prefer to answer, ‘I write,’ instead of, ‘I am a writer.’ It seems very simple, but it’s quite a powerful distinction because being a writer, that person who occupies the body that writes, is very, very different from writing, which is uneasy, liminal, litigious, nervous, paranoid, ecstatic, and in many ways a completely conflicted, state. The act of writing engages with process in a way that ‘I’m a writer’ does not. In order to name yourself as a writer, you have to other yourself, you have to stand outside. It’s much more comfortable for me to say ‘I write’ because there’s room in that act for failure. ‘I’m a writer’ leaves no room for failure of any sort.”

From an interview with AvH.