New Recruits Episode 18: Ariel Gershon Reads Emily Izsak

I know, I know, I’m featuring my own poem in my own series. How immodest. I’ve been wanting Ariel to read a poem for New Recruits for a long time. I searched the entire contemporary poetry section at Weldon library and couldn’t find anything that quite fit. When I told him I’d keep looking, he suggested Whistle Stops, half joking. I paused and looked pensive and he said, “you think it’s a good idea, don’t you.” And, I mean, isn’t it? The whole book is dedicated to him.

Welcome to Episode 18 of New Recruits, in which I will attempt to walk the fine line between tasteful homage and obnoxious PDA. Here goes:

Ariel Gershon and I met in 11th grade. We were in the same chemistry class (I just avoided the whole “we had chemistry together” pun so you’re welcome). A year later, our literature teacher had us work together on a project about Shakespearian sonnets. This teacher walked over to the desk we were sharing and said (no joke), “I put you guys together because I think you’re both very smart, and you’re in love… (obvious pause) with literature, and you’re both blushing right now.” I’m skipping a whole big mess between grades 11 and 12, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, that awkwardly and expertly placed pause was right and six and a bit years later, well, here we are.

I chose this poem for Ariel because I wrote it for him (I write them all for him) and because today is April 5th and this is an April 5th poem.

So here’s Ariel Gershon, the best person I know, reading “Apr. 5th 74 to Union Station 07:35″:

 

Q&A

What was your first impression of the poem?

It was real good. Best I’ve ever read.

Which line of the poem do you like best?

I love all of them, obviously, but I like the last five lines the best. Your lines are too short to just pick one.

Why?

It’s just nice. It’s really hard to parse grammatically but I still find some new understanding every time I read it.

What does this poem make you think of?

Big trains.

Have you encountered a poem like this before? Is this poem different from what you expected poetry to be like? If so, How?

Yes. I have read all your poems and they are all the same.

Does this poem remind you of any other piece of art or media?

Reminds me of Arthur Clarke’s short story – The Nine Billion Names of God.

Do you have any questions for the poet?

Want to make a smoothie later?

Ariel Gershon is a second year medical student at the University of Western Ontario. He plays accordion and ukulele real well even though he’ll tell you he’s not very good at either one. He doesn’t know what he wants to do for residency yet so ya’ll can stop asking him. Sometimes he talks in his sleep.

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