We often think of poetry as a kind of aesthetic exercise. As though poetry isn’t for people who stress about getting evicted or have to steal toilet paper from the bathroom at Mcdonald’s. It’s for people who have things like napkin holders. Or matching utensils. Kelly Rose Pflug-Back changed that for me. There are things from my past that I just don’t know how to talk about, even as a writer. Kelly’s work feels like someone is holding those up and saying: “These stories are worth telling. You can tell them. I’ll go first, so you won’t be scared”.
If you feel too monstrous, or too magical, or too powerful, if you need to grieve but you don’t know how, if you’ve seen horrors you can’t unsee, if you feel too much, these poems will see you and stay with you. Kelly’s work has the power to change everything you think you know about the poetry and mythology of your own ordinary magic, by changing the narrative about what and who is worthy of being written about. You don’t want to miss that.
-Written by Jim Meunier, writer and friend
Which ’hood are you in?
I’m in the West end right now. I like it because downtown is right there, but there’s still green space I can get to pretty easily. That’s really important to me; I grew up in a rural area so part of me will never feel at home in the city. Then again rural areas can be very isolating and not the easiest place to feel at home as a queer person, so it’s always a trade-off. There’s a real sense of community in my neighbourhood, and I’ve met some amazing people since I
moved about five years ago.
What do you do?
I do so many things! I’m an author and a textile artist, and I also teach workshops and classes on writing and sewing. I took the plunge and decided to try to be 100% self-employed last year. At first, I didn’t know how to organize all my professional services under one umbrella, but my friend Jim (who wrote the forward to this interview) reminded me that “text” and “textile” have the same root word. So my website is called Text and Textiles.
My first full-length book, the Hammer of Witches, was published in 2020 with Caitlin Press/Dagger Editions. I’m very passionate about poetry but I’ve also published a fair amount of non-fiction, which has looked like everything from journalism to policy documents to academic research.
What are you currently working on?
I’m in the editing stage of a second collection of poetry, which I’m pretty excited about. With my sewing business, winter is a really busy time, so from November onwards it’s just a whirlwind of orders for mittens and kids’ jackets. My work area looks chaotic but it’s a unique kind of satisfaction being able to create order out of that chaos. It’s not unlike taking the images, feelings, and concepts swirling around in my mind and refining them into a poem people can read and enjoy.
The next workshop I’m teaching is on beginner-level sewing machine skills. I teach workshops online and I have started offering them in-person more recently, usually through local businesses. I recently started teaching my sewing workshops at Tangled Yarn Shop in South Etobicoke, which has been so rewarding. Tons of people have sewing machines sitting around but don’t know how to use them. I like helping to revive a skill that has been lost in recent generations. That in itself is a kind of everyday magic.
Where can we find your work?
All my stuff is on my website! You can also follow me on Instagram or on Twitter.