Bill Arnott’s Showcase Interview: Fern G. Z. Carr

G’day Showcasers! (That’s Australian by the way; yes, I speak multiple English languages.) Today we have the pleasure of visiting with a truly multilinguist poet, Fern G. Z. Carr. I’d say her work’s out of this world, but that’s a tad obvious, as you’ll see. Welcome Fern! Let’s start by introducing you with a bio:

Fern G. Z. Carr is a former lawyer, teacher and past president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Kelowna, and of the Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society. She composes and translates poetry in six languages including Mandarin. Her poetry collection is entitled Shards of Crystal (Silver Bow Publishing). Carr’s work has been published from Finland to Mauritius and been recognized by the Parliamentary Poet Laureate. The recipient of several awards, Carr’s ultimate honour is having one of her poems in permanent orbit around Mars aboard NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft.

Q. I have to say, Fern, your interplanetary poetry kind of takes the cake, but why don’t you let us know what (else) you feel you’re best known for?

A. I’m probably best known for my love of languages, especially since I speak six of them. It makes eavesdropping so much more fun.

Q. (I’d never thought of that!) And what brought you here?

A. The answer to such an existential question is neither here nor there, so I’ll choose “there.” I’m absolutely thrilled to have one of my poems in permanent orbit around the planet Mars on a DVD aboard a NASA spacecraft. Thanks to my love of poetry, this poem could theoretically outlast life on earth. That begs my existential question for you: Do Martians own DVD players?

Q. Okay, that’s going to take some pondering. While I work on that, tell us, who’s a role model or mentor to you?

A. My role model (not mentor, since I’m not that old) is Leonardo da Vinci. His diverse talents are truly inspirational. I’d also have to add Emily Dickinson, Victor Hugo, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges to my list.

Q. (That’s quite a list!) And what’s your advice to others?

A. I have two pieces of advice. The first is based on The Dash, a poem by Linda Ellis, “Your life is made of two dates and a dash. Make the most of the dash.” My second piece of advice is, “Persist, persist, persist.”

Q. (Both excellent.) Tell us what you’re currently working on.

A. I’m developing a YouTube channel with videos about all things poetic. I’m also continuing to work on composing poetry in Mandarin. It can be a bit of a tricky language to master. When I asked my Mandarin teacher to proofread the autobiography I wrote to use for my poetry submissions, she told me that instead of saying I was a former lawyer, I said I was a serial killer! (I’m not a serial killer … )

Q. (Ah, the subtlety of language. Thanks for clarifying. And I believe you. I do.) And what are your favourite: book, album, movie, and food dish?

A. Book: Dracula by Bram Stoker
Album: The Best of Puccini
Movie: The Green Mile
Food: Fresh blueberries (Yum!)

Q. Mmm, proper summertime fare! And for our Quirky Question; as first put to us by Donny and Marie, tell us, are you a little bit country? Or a little bit rock n’ roll?

A. As an avid pianist, I’m more of a little bit classical n’ jazz, from Franz Liszt to Oscar Peterson.

Q. Well all right, let’s class this joint up. Thank you Fern, for your fun participation on the Showcase. But I’m still pondering the Martian DVD query …

Cheers everyone, thanks for supporting artists and writers, and stay creative!


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Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of A Season on Vancouver Island, theGone Viking travelogues, andA Perfect Day for a Walk: The History, Cultures, and Communities of Vancouver, on Foot(Arsenal Pulp Press, Fall 2024). Recipient of a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society for his expeditions, Bill’s a frequent presenter and contributor to magazines, universities, podcasts, TV and radio. When not trekking with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, where he lives near the sea on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land.