Gabe Foreman talks to Uptown Magazine
While Gabe Foreman was in Winnipeg at the Thin Air Festival earlier this fall, and while there, he spoke with Uptown about his first poetry collection, A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Types of People:
Are you a Control Freak or a Couch Potato? A Fall Guy or a Frequent Flyer?
No matter who you are, you will find yourself in A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Types of People (Coach House Books), the sly, clever creation of Montreal's Gabe Foreman.
"People generally flip through the book to see what's in store for them," Foreman says. "I don't want to tell people what to do, but I assume that's what they'll do."
Foreman's book is a poetical taxonomy, a catalogue of Bad Apples and Bargain Hunters. It has just won Quebec's top prize for English-language poetry, the A.M. Klein Award.
"I wanted a book that had a structure," Foreman says. "I didn't want just a collection of poems. And I wanted to write within constraints.
"I really do like browsing reference books," he adds. "I like that they're no nonsense. They stick to the facts."
Foreman's encyclopedia, though, is absurd, sad and funny. For example, Employers is a list of yes or no questions, starting with: "Have you ever been chased by a woman on a horse?"
"People like typing other people," Foreman says. "It's a common expression, 'I'm the type of person...'
"But the idea of dividing people into types seems so reductive," he adds. "Grouping people like that is a silly, potentially bad thing to do – but that didn't stop me from doing it anyway, but in a cheeky way."