Rob Budde

Rob Budde teaches Creative Writing and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Northern BC and has taught previously at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. He has published seven books (four poetry—Catch as Catch, traffick, Finding Ft. George, and declining america, two novels—Misshapen and The Dying Poem, and short fiction–Flicker). In 2002, Rob facilitated a collection of interviews (In Muddy Water: Conversations with 11 Poets). He has been a finalist for the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the McNally-Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year. In 1995, Budde completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. Finding Ft. George is a collection of poems about Rob’s growing relationship with Prince George and Northern BC. He is currently working on a science fiction novel called The Overcode and a book of poems about a character named “Poem” called Poem’s Poems. Rob lives in Prince George with his partner, Debbie Keahey and four children: Robin, Erin, Quinlan, and Anya.  

Rob posts community art & culture events at the culture mill ( and his poetry at writingwaynorth (

 Poem’s Poem of Love

Not saying the word reliably, historically

like weather or the knots

in thinking around

emotional language, tangled

in this bright mid-day moment (of reading)

and the medium

and a pronoun . . .

And “you” is never easy—

a striated sign of things

to come and counter

to the sense of sentence, its ease

and assurance—so the word

“with” becomes still uneasier and

I walk into the sunlit room,

poem in hand, a proximity,

molecular and climatic,

twined and tugging tight

half listening to the news

of storms forming

over the warming oceans . . .

A deligitimized ground, standing

there, as if through a semblance

of scientific instrumentation, who

is who’s target is the question and

the water line wavers in the

refracted calculations–you look up your altitude

in an archaic book of symbols,

you look up and tell me we need

to flee . . .

Love is resistant to anti-

biotics, bodies react to themselves

and become something else; later

we hear 21st century love retreated from the coasts,

subsided in the mountains, subsisted

on salmon and berries . . .

We read “red” in the remaining

records, and “faith”—but these

codes fail, these letters fall still, cars by the side

of the highway house

sparrows and squirrels,

a reorganized polis . . .

And I’d like to think

of us, by the side of the derelict

highway, bereft and happy,

a fistful of yarrow and a wooden cup of tea

but the future tense may

not be love’s love sprung

from the old language

1.    Please describe your writing/ art?

I write our of questions and the writing becomes an act of discovery. I like moving between styles and modes. I don’t want to pinned down as a certain type of writer. Everything I do in writing, and outside it, is to promote creativity in everything we do. Without poetry I would die.

2.    what is the writing/ artistic accomplishment you are most proud of to date?

The artistic / writing success of my students gives me the most joy.

3.    what are a couple of your (specific) writing/ artistic goals you have yet to accomplish?

I am stuck on my cyberpunk novel (though it is not a true cyberpunk because it is utopian rather than dystopic) and would really like to take a run at finishing that.

4.    what do you love most about northern BC and why?

Northern BC offers a place to be creative that is unencumbered by many of the aesthetic pressures that I found in Winnipeg and Calgary (and see when I visit Vancouver). It has a supportive community and a ‘rawness’ that contributes to original artwork and writing.

5.    what are the biggest challenges about living in northern BC?

Many of the trappings of ‘success’ in writing involves publishing contracts and grants, and those are harder to get up here because we are out-of-sight-out-of-mind. We find ways though.

6.    are there are other northern BC (or surrounding area) writers and/or artists who have inspired you?  (if so, why?)

Ken Belford has been my mentor since 2003.

7.     in 50 words or less, please describe your home (i.e. actual home, town or territory).

I live on King Dr. off Tabor near the river and near Moore’s Meadow in Prince George in the middle of a beleaguered but rich subalpine boreal forest.

8.     what’s your favourite restaurant / cafe in the north? (where is it?) Why is it your favourite?

Cimo Mediterranean Grill is on Victoria Ave and Wayne Kitchen there does local and fresh really well.
9.     what is your favourite wild creature (animal, bird or bug) that lives in north?  Why?

Devil’s club, Oplopanax horridus, Hoolhghulh. Because it is a boss plant.

10.   Has living in northern BC informed, affected or influenced your writing or art?  If so, please let us know a bit about how.

Politically, being here has infused my writing in all sorts of ways; urban / rural issues, regionalism, ecocriticism, class, and the particulars of the place (topography, animals, plants, etc) have all entered my writing. But not always. Much of writing is still about other books.

11.   what is your favourite place in the north? (town, hangout or wild place)

Last July went to Haida Gwaii and climbed Tow Hill.

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 8:43 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very nice interview, Mary and Rob. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more of your work, Rob. Have a great year. Much success. Happy New Year.

  2. Glad to hear Poem’s Poems is still “a plan”. I’m a fan of Rob’s work – both as a writer and as a promoter of writing and writers. You’re a keeper, Rob!

  3. Prince George was the place where I learned to love poetry. I learned that poetry comes alive when words are spoken aloud. A completely different experience from reading to oneself. Now I have campfires in the yard. People come with poems in their pockets. Shyly sharing treasures, voices becoming free…

  4. I totally agree Vince!

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