In the hopes of encouraging a broader exchange among U.S. and Canadian poets, H. L. Hix has designed a series of one-question “mini-interviews” for his Canadian peers. A selection of these interviews will be incorporated into his forthcoming book Ley Lines (Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2015). The subject of this interview is Tim Bowling’s The Annotated Bee & Me.
H. L. Hix: Your “Propolis” describes both your great-aunt’s chapbook and your own book as both “whimsical” and sometimes “dark.” Which leads me to notice the frequency with which other oppositions occur: wild and intimate, calm and terror, angry and laboured, heat and cool, euphoria and sadness, and so on. I don’t want to make too much of something that we humans do frequently in any circumstances, but I wonder if for you that sense of contrast or opposition has particular importance to this work.
Tim Bowling: Your question is an astute one. Indeed, the contrasts are built right into the whole conception and subject matter of the book. Bees, for example. We associate them with spring, light, sweetness, but, of course, in this time of global extinctions, we must also recognize that bees, like salmon and other creatures, are greatly threatened. So there is a definite sense of life and death within my poems, which extends to include the relationship between past and present. In a general sense, my work is Shakespearean, based on the premise that life, even though it’s tragic, contains much humour within it, even as the hive (a cheerful, industrious place) contains robbing, murder and obliteration.
Tim Bowling is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Selected Poems, four novels and two works of nonfiction. A Guggenheim fellow twice nominated for the Governor General’s Award, he lives in Edmonton, Alberta.