With this year’s edition of the Word on the Street festival set to run from September 28 to 30, we asked some of the writers on the wildly diverse bill to tell us about the reading experiences that shaped them. Which book left deep impressions early on? Which one overhauled the way they see and think about the world, and set them on a path to a literary life?
Here’s what Daniel Zomparelli told us. He’s the editor of Poetry Is Dead magazine and the author of the new poetry collection Davie Street Translations.
He’ll be reading from his work at 12 p.m. on September 30, in the Poetry Tent outside the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library.
Whenever anyone asks me what books got me into writing, I usually lie and suggest some writer or book that fits more with what I write now. Something poetic, or something very classic and literary.
The truth is, the books that got me into writing were Goosebumps. Yes, Ermahgerd Goosebumps. I had an addiction to horror films as a child, and so I spent my nights writing short horror stories. I would write these terrible narratives of kids being banished to hell or killed by shadows, and I would hand the stories in to my teachers to read.
A lot of the time they would return the stories to me with comments saying "offensive" or "foul language". Which proves my writing hasn't changed a bit.