Poets on Record

A special online series exploring the work and creative process of writers through video interviews. New short videos were released weekly throughout the spring of 2014.


John K. Samson

John K. Samson is the singer and songwriter for The Weakerthans, an acclaimed rock band. John’s poetry and prose has appeared in Matrix Magazine, Geist, The Believer and Post-Prairie: An Anthology of New Poetry. He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he’s also the managing editor and co-founder of a small publishing house, ARP (Arbeiter Ring Publishing). His first solo album, Provincial, and book, Lyrics and Poems, 1997–2012, were released in January 2012.

Winnipeg: A Prism (0:43)

John K. Samson talks about what keeps him in Winnipeg.

Starting Out with Music (0:51)

John K. Samson describes how music, specifically punk rock, inspired his early writing.

Growing Up: The Marriage of Music and Words (2:39)

In this video, John K. Samson talks about how growing up in the Lutheran church and discovering local poets inspired his love of music and words.

The Writing Life: Arbiter Ring Publishing (1:31)

Jonn K. Samson talks about what inspired him to co-found a publishing company.

Genre Lines: Breaking the Barriers (1:30)

John K. Samson explains why he does not believe in making distinctions between what type of writer he is.

Travel: A Musical Map (3:32)

John K. Samson discusses the initial inspiration for his solo album Provincial and how the project grew over time.

Writing Community: Catherine Hunter (1:38)

John K. Samson talks about his first encounter with Catherine Hunter’s writing and how it continues to inspire him today.

The Creative Process: Walking around with a Song (2:28)

John K. Samson describes his creative process and explains why editing is his favourite part of writing.

Culture in the Middle of Nowhere (3:24)

John K. Samson describes the "lost culture" of Iceland and Winnipeg.

Poetry Books: Music in Writing (2:48)

In this video, John K. Samson discusses his writing process and why he decided to publish a book of his lyrics. The book, Lyrics and Poems: 1997-2012, includes all of the lyrics to the Weakerthans' songs as well as for his solo album Provincial.

Location: Power in the Margins (2:10)

John K. Samson describes why he doesn’t mind being called a “Provincial” writer.

Advice for Writers: Fear, Frustration, and Fraudery (2:48)

Starting a project can be scary. In this video, John K. Samson describes the fears he has about writing and how he gets around them.

Poem: Elegy for Gump Worsley (1:01)

John K. Samson reads his poem "Elegy for Gump Worsley" for Poets on Record.

Song: Stop Error (2:13)

John K. Samson plays his song "Stop Error" for Poets on Record.

Song: Hospital Vespers (1:40)

John K. Samson performs his song "Hospital Vespers" for Poets on Record.


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