As ACPA Editors, we wish to give you accurate, relevant, and strongly written information on Atlantic Canadian poets and their works. Whether we were poetry enthusiasts or not before working for the ACPA, the archive has stirred a passion in us for the work in our backyard.
Below you will be introduced to the current Managing Editor of the ACPA and learn what they have to offer towards the diversity of the archive. Please take a minute to read their story. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do.
Managing editor Evan Mersereau speaking at Mount Saint Vincent University -- thanks to Sara Nason for capturing this photo.
1. What year were you Managing Editor of the ACPA?
May 2018-August 2019.
2. What did you study (are currently studying) at STU? Where did that take you (will take you)?
When I started working here, I was going into my final year at STU, majoring in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing and minoring in Communications and Public Policy. While I was at STU, I completed a novel draft for National Novel Writing Month 2016, and began work on a separate novel for my Independent Project in Creative Writing -- an excerpt of which won STU's David Adams Richards for Prose in 2018. I've since graduated, but I'm going back to STU in September 2019 for a Certificate of Honours Standing. Then after that, who knows? Maybe grad school.
Working for the ACPA helped me establish a presence as a freelance writer who specializes in digital media studies. My first published work, "No Guarantee in the Gray," was based on a paper and talk I wrote about the video game adaptation of Henry Thoreau's Walden. I've also worked as a teaching assistant and a writing tutor.
3. What intrigued you about the ACPA?
My last job was as a writing tutor at STU's Writing Centre. I found that I really loved reading academic papers, no matter what the subject. That blended really well with my experience workshopping other students' work in Creative Writing classes. But part of the ACPA's allure for me is the mystery: poetry has always been inaccessible to me. That's not to say that I've never read poetry, but academic poetry analysis is almost new territory for me. What this gives me is an opportunity to learn about poetry analysis, and a license to engage with cultural traditions and artistic genius.
4. What did you enjoy most about editing the ACPA?
This is a scenario where I have all the tools I need to survive -- I know how to write, how to critique writing, how to research, etc. It's just me, a stack of papers, my red pen, and an editorial mandate to make these entries look as good as they possibly can. What I got out of tutoring was giving other students the push they needed for stronger writing and thinking, which in a lot of cases was about drawing out what those students were already capable of. But this is a position where I can help those who are already strong writers celebrate their abilities.
The other most enjoyable thing is that I'm pulling from both my major and my minor for relevant skills. While the English field often demands lengthy papers, the entries we receive for the ACPA have a 1000-word maximum. This means that entries need to be in-depth and concise, and concision is what the Communications field is all about. These papers need to be tight, and I love that added layer of difficulty. They've got to be good, and they've got to be short. This is the kind of challenge that I love to overcome.
5. Why should people be interested in what the ACPA has to offer?
Fredericton, New Brunswick is my home, and if I can help it I will never leave this place. I recently had a talk with someone around my age about differing motivations for leaving Atlantic Canada. This is a bit reductive of the conversation, but basically, this person and their friends all felt like New Brunswick was something to leave, whereas some of my friends and I grew up trying to cling to it as much as possible. At the core of both views there is an agreement that something is lacking, that in our own ways we are unfulfilled with our lots here. I think that the ACPA is in a unique position to convey this dichotomy by providing a platform for not only the poems of Atlantic Canada, but the inter-generational conversation between the poets of different eras, and the students who analyze this poetry.
I think that, like my dad's work with East Coast music, the work done here will demonstrate the unique perspectives about art and living in this place. There is not only a difference in scale between Atlantic Canada and other Canadian regions, but a difference in kind: there's a feeling with odd persistence throughout the region, but there are also shifts in tone from town to town and province to province. I will admit that I see the Atlantic Canadian label to be a very convenient box that doesn't really exist, but I think it's fascinating to watch a lot of people tackle the same subject material from different angles. This might be me projecting a little bit, but it seems like a lot of content on here is trying to reconcile a place in several layers of culture and world. We're all stuck between figuring out if this really is home or just a house with our name on the porch.
The ACPA wouldn't be what it is today without our past managing editors. Take a minute to appreciate their work by reading their stories here.