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Photo by Amelia Takacs.

Writers Reading Series Features Catriona Wright at Traill College

Written by
Amelia Takacs
and
and
November 30, 2023
Writers Reading Series Features Catriona Wright at Traill College
Photo by Amelia Takacs.

After facing COVID-19 restrictions for the past few years, Trent University’s English Department held the Writer’s Reading Series on November 22nd, once again taking hold of the literary community. Hosted at Traill College, author Catriona Wright took ‘the stage’ and presented a tasteful and intimate reading of select poems from both Table Manners (2017) and Continuity Errors (2023), and short stories from Difficult People (2018). The Writers Reading Series portrays the importance of personal comprehension and allows aspiring writers a unique view of the world they hope to enter. The evening commits a specific set of time for the authors themselves to speak and concludes with a reception at the Trend. Creating a more relaxed and communicable environment, the reception works to fuel conversation. 

“My ideal reader is someone like me, but much smarter and cooler,” said Wright, stating she writes for both herself and for someone to listen to. Her authorship is highly versatile, leaving impressions on many. 

In Wright’s most recent work, Continuity Errors, she takes a deep dive into the poetic realm which addresses aspects of feminism through work life and productivity. She shared that many of the works included in the compilation of Continuity Errors were composed during the pandemic. Evidently her work heavily reflects her experiences during this period of time. Wright’s pregnancy, and the “techno-utopian/techno-optimistic mindset” as influenced by her work teaching in an engineering department, can both be perceived as highly influential. 

As Wright stated, she “wrote the poems [and] themes emerged—things I was preoccupied with, both consciously and unconsciously—and I tried to weave them together as best I could.” 

With the subjective tone which overtakes poetry, Wright finds solace in knowing that her work depicts interpretative feelings and conveys the theatrical essence that poetry should. 

Wright continuously reiterated the importance of allowing the reader to form personal understandings.

“A poem is not a puzzle or a machine that spits out one meaning; it’s an experience, one that will be different for any reader who encounters it.” To speak to those who wish to take up writing, Catriona Wright suggests continual reading; in depth and often. Branch out through the genres, writers, and time periods, take in all previous works’ have to give in hopes to “Find your literary lineage, those writers who you feel a kinship to, and write to and for them.” 

Drawn to speak on the more mundane aspects of life, Wright told the audience that she’s “interested in how care work sustains and maintains our relationships with others.” 

In a world centered around capitalist and hyper-individualisit thinking, Wright searches for a way to create unity through symbolism. Fighting aspects of our current society which appear “deeply de-humanizing, relentlessly focused on output/production and innovation,” Catriona’s work evidences a personalized, and at times satire, take on contemporary issues.  

With previous works appearing in Canadian magazines such as Geist, gaining recognition in organizations such as Prism International or Prairie Fire, and further successes with her more recent book Continuity Errors, it may be time to look to the future. As Wright plans to continue her writing, she notes that she is currently working on a collection of short stories, her focus: female monsters. While at this time we may not know exactly what is to come from this endevor, if Wright’s past work and her desire to tackle both large social issues and the mundane facts of life her audience may be sure Wright’s future work will follow the same insightful tonality.

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