Lisa Pasold

The Puritan

REVIEW, ANY BRIGHT HORSE A testament to narrative possibility... a deceptively quick read that would miss Pasold’s subtle play of argument and narrative, which when fully teased out is surprisingly dynamic, as is her play between poetry and prose. This works, because for Pasold the story is always on the move, a boat “slipping from its lines” and moving off in the distance, unmoored like language and like “you.” But Pasold’s “you” is just a part of her play, which condenses into a pleasant unity near the end when Pasold identifies “our genius in dwelling within and yet without our own invented walls.” A similar thing might be said of any worthwhile poem. 

Quill & Quire

REVIEW, ANY BRIGHT HORSE: Pasold acknowledges Don McKay and Daphne Marlatt as influences: both have an affinity for nature imagery and graceful ease in poetically conveying human experiences. Pasold carries on their traditions with distinction, craft and beauty.

The Globe & Mail

REVIEW, A BAD YEAR FOR JOURNALISTS Lisa Pasold's second collection, A Bad Year for Journalists, is steeped in homelessness. By turns sympathetic, critical, darkly funny and painstakingly lyrical, the poems trace Pasold's journalistic travels...

The Toronto Quarterly

INTERVIEW EXCERPT TTQ – Any Bright Horse has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award in Poetry for 2012. What does that honour mean to you as a poet? 

LP – It’s a huge honour, especially considering how many fantastic books are out there. I’m really happy for my Calgary-based publisher, Frontenac House—they deserve recognition for their long-term commitment to poetry. It’s such a tightrope-walk for everyone in this business! And on a personal level, it’s a phenomenal surprise. It’s been wonderful to hear from poets and friends around the country and make plans to read with them and catch up with everyone. 



REVIEW, WEAVE Quite simply a masterpiece: there is more in these eighty-odd pages than in most novels. 

The Winnipeg Free Press

REVIEW, RATS OF LAS VEGAS Lisa Pasold’s debut novel is as enticing as the lit-up Las Vegas strip and as satisfying as a winning hand at poker.


INTERVIEW [go to link for interview recorded at THIS IS NOT A READING SERIES at the Gladstone Hotel]

12 or 20 questions

INTERVIEW EXCERPT rob: Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes? LP - I write quickly but I throw away a lot. Every now and then, I keep some poem or length of prose more or less as it began, but usually I need to edit a lot. I write & rewrite & take about a third of the writing out. Then I rearrange what’s left. Feedback from other people is a life-saver, too; sometimes, taking new work to a reading can be a good spur to rewrite & make it better. 



REVIEW, ANY BRIGHT HORSE What intrigues me most about Lisa Pasold’s poetic narrative is the perspective. The book contains six sections, alternating focus between Marco Polo’s journeys and those of a contemporary dancer. But this is what happens: after we are introduced to Marco Polo and his stories, the contemporary narrator wonders “what if my neighbor believes he is Marco Polo”. Once suggested, their stories overlap. [...]  Any Bright Horse is also a narrative about narrative, and while this trope has been done many times before, Pasold’s strength is in her words.


REVIEW, RATS OF LAS VEGAS In its protagonist, Rats of Las Vegas is familiar and warm. In its content, it is magical. If this combination doesn’t have you rooting around the junk drawer for an old deck of cards, it’s time to turn the book back to the beginning and start it again.

ARC Poetry Magazine

REVIEW, ANY BRIGHT HORSE It is an epic poem in prose form and includes enough of a narrative thread that it feels more like an impressionistic novel—but it isn’t a novel, in the purest sense, because it doesn’t rely on plot or arc and isn’t driven by character or dialogue as much as it is by imagery and language.

Paris [im]Perfect

INTERVIEW EXCERPT: SION - You write it all – poems, articles, travel pieces, a novel. What do you get out of each of these different types of writing? Do they inform each other in any way? LP - In some ways, they all come from the same impetus: I want to connect with the world, whether it’s through writing a travel article or writing a poem. For a while I worked as a music journalist, which was quite ‘rock & roll’ (you really have to say that with a French accent), and now I’m mining all my weirdest music & fashion stories for my next novel. So as it turns out, the different kinds of writing inform each other very directly!


JSkeslien Charles Blog

INTERVIEW EXCERPT: JSK - How does living in a foreign country affect your writing? LP - I think it makes me more aware of language and the way people express themselves and the patterns we make with words, depending on where we’re from. Being a wanderer and sometime travel journalist, I feel a bit at home and a bit foreign everywhere, which makes me notice the details of life. I think that’s good for my writing.