Creative writing and internationality

PROFile: Dr. Sandy Pool, assistant professor, English department, U of W

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As the new assistant professor for the University of Winnipeg’s (U of W) English department, Dr. Sandy Pool has ideas for incorporating her international experience into the creative writing stream.

“I have been working and travelling internationally for the past five years,” Pool says.

Pool began by working in the United States, mainly in Buffalo and Florida, before moving to the United Kingdom. There, she taught in the most prestigious creative writing program in Britain at the University of East Anglia.

In addition to her teaching experience, Pool wrote two books of poetry Undark: An Oratorio and Exploding Into Night, which was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Awards in 2010.

Pool hopes that, by 2022, her newest written project will be released. It’s a series of personal essays written about her mother.

“They’re focused on the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, and also queerness,” she says.

“My mother was sick for my entire life, so it’s really about thinking about illness and sickness and how that might affect your relationship with your mother.”

Alongside her excitement with her creative projects, Pool is enthusiastic about what she might bring to the U of W’s creative writing program.

Specifically, Pool hopes to incorporate internationality into the program. Her goal is to get more Canadian writers operating in creative spaces that extend beyond our local sector.

“I think my international experience allows me to link international writers and Canadian writers together, so I’m super excited about that,” she says. “It would be really fun to see what comes out of those new collaborations.”

What is something you’ve learned from your students?
“To stay current, and I think my students keep me current.”

What was your worst grade in university?
“Oh! Uh, F.”

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
“I’m so anxious about the climate emergency, I really am, especially with the forest fires. I feel like my superpower would be ... being able to improve the environment dramatically.”

What do you think creative writing has the ability to do to effect change?

“I’m one of those writers and professors who deeply, deeply believes that creative writing can save your life. It has certainly saved mine thousands of times over.”

Published in Volume 76, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 9, 2021)

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