Stevie Howell on the role of poetry in exploring human emotions

This year’s Canadian Writers in Person Lecture Series featured a presentation by poet Steve Howell. On Dec. 4., Howell spoke about I left nothing inside on purpose, the poet’s second collection. York University Teaching Assistant Dana Patrascu-Kingsley sent the following report to YFile.

On Dec. 4, Stevie Howell, an Irish-Canadian writer, critic and editor, visited York University as part of the Canadian Writers in Person Lecture Series.

Howell’s first collection of poetry, Sharps, was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. A second collection of poetry, I left nothing inside on purpose (McClelland & Stewart), came out this year, and has been described by American poet Shane McCrae as “a book of bewildered lament, as only the truest and smartest books are.”

“How do I talk about love in a new way?” Howell said, when contemplating the new work.

A trained psychologist, Howell turns to the psychological concepts of attachment and social learning theory to work through how we experience love.

I left nothing inside on purpose is a deeply affecting, glittering analysis of who we are when we claim to be ourselves in the world,” reads the description on the publisher’s website.

In these poems, Howell offers new ways of thinking through emotions and allegiances.

Readings are free and open to any member of the public. For more information, contact Professor Leslie Sanders at or Professor Gail Vanstone at All readings are held Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. in 206 Accolade West Building, Keele Campus.