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An Interview with Steven Ogg

An Interview with Steven Ogg

 |  Author Interviews

 

To celebrate the upcoming release of Catharse-is, the debut poetry collection from artist Steven Ogg, we caught up with him, asking him questions about his life, his desire to write and the making of his book.

 

Steven Ogg was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, growing up and attending school in Calgary. “Mrs Hemphill and Mr. White – two teachers from elementary / high school respectively – were instrumental in my early love for words and writing.” Growing up, Steven’s love of reading further flourished: “My mom was also always reading books, so it was something I always enjoyed as another form of expression.”

 

Best known for his acting – both on screen and on stage - Steven made his professional acting debut in the year 2000 on an episode of the US crime-procedural Law & Order. He spent the noughties in New York City, picking up theatre work, acting jobs and continuing to read widely. When we asked Steven about the books, authors or poets who have had the biggest impact on him, he responded with, “It’s always been a culmination of artists; the classic novels / authors gave me the love and respect of the words and sentences. The songwriters gave me the emotional resonance of the words’ power.”

 

Music is an important passion of Steven’s, especially in his poetry writing: “songwriters have been my biggest poetic influence – Gord Downie (where the book’s title came from) to David Sylvain, Marr Berninger / Carin Besser from The National to Sinead O’Connor, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Trent Reznor… the collective makes the impact on me.”

 

When I lived in Europe, particularly Paris, I would read a novel a week and go through writers by country and tutelage… Russia’s Gogol to Dostoevsky to Tolstoy, France’s Flaubert to de Maupassant. Words are words – their form or style of little consequence to me compared with their emotion and resonance.” To the average reader, Steven’s collection and determination to read a diverse range of literature is immense – yet when we asked him what writing advice he would offer his younger self, Steven had desire to go further: “absorb and collect all you can and write it down.”

 

 

As his acting portfolio grew, Steven’s creative yearning further progressed. Steven starred in some of the biggest TV shows of the 2010s: The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Snowpiercer, Westworld, with his love of writing and in particular, poetry reaching a pinnacle come the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and following lockdowns. “My creativity is a furuncle on my soul that needs daily expressing.” And so began Steven’s Instagram poetry posts…

 

These Instagram posts form the foundations of Catharse-is and proved to Steven, to his family and to his friends that his poetry was worth expressing and worth compiling. “People that had read my work would tell me to collect it all in a book. Luckily, I had someone next to me that helped me do just that.

 

When speaking about Catharse-is directly, Steven laments, “this volume of poetry mostly came from a very painful place and expressing it in this style prose, allowed me to process it better. I released that pain and frustration and the joy, at times, as it shined brighter. It certainly did not solve anything or make it go away, but it helped to vomit the poison out.

 

Life.” That is Steven’s leading inspiration of his poetry. “By living an artist’s life; participating fully in it by paying attention and continuing to read daily, look at art, and listening to music.” Steven self-describes his work through five key ingredients: “Raw. Emotional. Honest. From the heart. Off the cuff.

 

 

Steven’s cover is a beautiful haze of pastel colours, inspired by the work of Boo Saville and from a line of a Tom Robbins book Steven had read in his teens: “Indigo, indigoing, indigone.” Similarly, the title of Steven’s poetry is “a most fitting play of words,” taken from Gord Downie’s lyrics to Every Irrelevance. “Since it was always a journey towards healing, catharsis seemed fitting.”

 

Steven’s poetic journey is just beginning in the written form, with his other creative endeavours taking him into the kitchen on TV show Boiling Point, back onto the boards in an upcoming theatre show in Ireland, but his true passion, his true cathartic release, is in his poetry.

 

Catharse-is is due for release June 3rd, with pre-orders now available.


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