Michael Prior shares some thoughts on his upcoming poetry debut, Model Disciple:
When people ask me what Model Disciple is about, I always get a little uneasy. I wanted to make Model Disciple a collection of individual poems first and foremost, but a thematic framework for the book arose organically: as with most writers, I kept returning to the same subject matter. At the core of the collection are my maternal grandparents’ experiences as Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Like thousands of other Canadians of Japanese descent, they were forced into internment camps after Pearl Harbour, while their families’ properties and possessions were auctioned off to pay for their own internment.
Accordingly, the book often deals with issues of intergenerational memory, cultural inheritance, and my own experience of growing up half (“halves?” “halfed?”) and still not really knowing what that means. The collection has a lot to do with my troubled relationship to the writers I love and the implications of stealing from the traditionally privileged canon to express my own confused position. But of course, there are also VHS tapes, guinea pigs, Tamagotchis, Boromir, and Pat Morita thrown in for good measure.