About Kayla G.

Good Writing is Authentic & Intentional

My mother taught me to read when I was two years old, and when I was five I knew I wanted to be an author. I also wanted to travel the world, to experience the diversity and richness of life. My desire to become a good writer has shaped my life. Now, my goal is to help others succeed with their writing.

From late 2003 to late 2005, I roamed the islands and waters of the world working on cruise ships. My cruise ship experiences and my desire to become a good writer turned into my first poetry collection That Light Feeling Under Your Feet (NeWest Press 2018). In 2006, I enrolled in the University of New Brunswick and in 2010 graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in First Class English Honours. I continued on at UNB in their Creative Writing Programme. I graduated with a Master of Arts in English Creative Writing in 2012, and five years later my creative thesis, That Light Feeling Under Your Feet, was finally in print!

Photo credit Jim Johnstone. Reading at UNB’s Annual Poetry Weekend in 2017.

During my MA, I taught university essay composition and grammar. After graduation, I moved to Calgary where I worked as a technical editor on Canada’s largest pipeline installation projects. After returning to the Maritimes in 2015, I worked as a Pension Assistant for the Government of Canada and designed courseware for Air Traffic Controllers and as Instructional Design Support.

Reading my poetry at the Attic Owl Reading Series Open Mic in 2016.

In 2018 I decided it was time to work for myself and it has been the most rewarding decision of my life.

In 2018, my position was eliminated and I decided it was time to work for myself. It has been the most rewarding decision of my life. In 2019, I became the official host of the Attic Owl Reading Series and Moncton’s first Anglophone Poet Laureate. Each month I speak with more and more professionals, writers, and individuals who are passionate, driven people looking to share their best with the world. They need good, focused writing to help them do that. I am so pleased to be in a position where my skills are needed, necessary, and doing good.

Photo credit Matthew Wyatt Brennan – Old Hat Photography

I believe that good writing is authentic and intentional, and everyone’s voice has value. Good writing makes connections. When we share our story, our professional calling, or our humanitarian cause in a compelling way, we become empowered and we empower others.


Publications

Greta Hrimgerder

My first long poem done in a Neo-Norse style, “Greta Hrimgerder”, was published by Frog Hollow Press as part of the New Brunswick Chapbook Series.

My current manuscript examines the mythologies built around family members and the stories we continue to tell about them long after they are gone. “Greta Hrimgerder” was inspired by my Norweigian heritage. This poem uses Old Norse poetic traditions and mythology to tell the story of my relationship with my aunt during her last days.

Read it here in Hamilton Arts & Letters!


That Light Feeling Under Your Feet

That Light Feeling Under Your Feet – April 2018, NeWest Press, Edmonton AB, Canada

Exploring the liminal space between labour and leisure, the poems in That Light Feeling Under Your Feet are at once buoyant and weighty, with language that cuts like a keel through the sea.

What it’s like to really work on a cruise ship…

This is my first poetry collection. Amusing and authentic, That Light Feeling is about the two years I lived and worked on cruise ships. Through personal experiences, observations, and stories shared by colleagues, I take you on an incredible journey into the secret world of cruise ship workers. From Mexico to the Amazon, to Tahiti and Alaska, through hurricans and tsunamis–these narratives poems offer a peek into the lives of those who, out of necessity or a sense of adventure, seek a career on the high seas.

That Light Feeling Under Your Feet plunges headfirst into the surreal and slogging world of cruise ship workers. These masterfully crafted poems challenge perpetuating colonial and class relations, as well as the hedonistic lifestyle attributed to the employees of these floating resorts. Kayla Geitzler’s debut collection interprets isolation, alienation, racism, and assimilation into the margins as inevitable consequences for the seafaring workforce of the most profitable sector of the tourism industry.

Interviews and Podcasts

Poetry Grrrowl: That Light Feeling Under Your Feet + Kayla Geitzler

April 26, 2019 – That Light Feeling Under Your Feet (NeWest Press) is the personal account of author Kayla Geitzler’s time spent as a gift shop associate for two consecutive years on three separate cruise ships. Varied in it’s forms, the collection shape-shifts to reveal the peculiar, the intimate, and the struggle of living life at sea. From 104 hour work-weeks to hurricanes – Kayla joins us to share more about her work, and her love of poetry, which she says has always been present.

NeWest Press Podcast – Episode #66: Kayla Geitzler That Light Feeling Under Your Feet

Reviews

From Something In The Water: Kayla Geitzler’s That Light Feeling Under Your Feet by Symon Jory Stevens-Guille

“Some of these poems seem to walk on water, on the froth from a swell where capital meets little human moments, an odd place full of sadness, humour and terror. 

“The book moves back and forth between short lined poems—as short as single syllables—and a kind of long line that is atypical of much contemporary Canadian poetry. Some of these are nearly prose, narrative vignettes that unfold across the book. . .It’s fair to say that there’s a premium on the punchy lyric in Can Lit, a preference for sonic gotchas. Geitzler can write these, but her best long lines do a service to both sound and sense.

“Alongside line length, Geitzler takes another tack that has been, I think, under-appreciated: genuine narrative. I don’t mean the sort of sporadic series of images that characterize many contemporary poems and which, relying on the human proclivity for coherence, are extended some narrative sense. I mean there are stories here, stories that structure good poems. More than that, the turn to narration gives the book as a whole a focus that’s irreducible to mere theme.” – Symon Jory Stevens-Guille, HA & L

“In her formidable poetic debut, Kayla Geitzler navigates a world of ‘unregulated overtime and tip skimming’ aboard the cruise ship Saturnalia. No mere three-hour tour, That Light Feeling Under Your Feet is an unflinching portrait of life at sea, and the discrimination, racism, and misogyny inherent in the tourism industry. Darkly humorous and deftly realized, the poems in That Light Feeling Under Your Feet stick in the mind like ‘endless leviathans’ harnessing the controlled chaos of the word.”~ Jim Johnstone, author of The Chemical Life

“Like a workaday Virgil, Kayla Geitzler takes us from the upper decks of rum cocktails, jackpot bingo, and conga lines into the underworkings of cruise ships — the sale-to-sail palliative powers of simulacrum, the trinket-exhausted ports, and the forced smiles of deck staff under a manager’s beady gaze. In poem after startling poem, Geitzler’s sustained meditation forces our attention back to this absurd microcosm, proving herself a provocative emissary to frantic mass tourism. These imperial floating wedding cakes, she insists, are always ready to blot out the sky, taking those on board with them.”~ Tammy Armstrong, author of Take Us Quietly

Awards & Recognition

In 2018, the CBC recognized me as a poet who reflects “the enduring strength of the literary form in this country.”

As of September 2019, I proudly represent my city as Moncton’s inaugural Anglophone Poet Laureate

Winner of the 2016 Bailey Prize for Best Unpublished Manuscript!

Shortlisted for the 2018 Fiddlehead Poetry Prize at the New Brunswick Book Awards!

Shortlisted for the Alberta Book Publishing Awards – Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry!


My writing has also been featured in Thirteen: New Collected Poems from LGTBQ2IS Writers in Canada, The Fiddlehead, Les Effeuilleuses, Poetry is Dead, Galleon, and others.

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