Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following poets, local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do
1. What were the circumstances under which you began to write poetry?
Trauma: There was no poetry in my life at school or at home apart from nursery rhymes. I left School (which I hated) at 15 and ½ and joined the Army as a Junior Soldier. The first poem I wrote was about leaving school, leaving home and finding that army life was far harder that anything I had experienced. It was in rhyming couplets, not that I knew that then. I guess I realised that I could write a poem or two. They were mainly autobiographical and only for me to get it out of my system as there was nobody to talk to about feelings at that time.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
Years later I joined a poetry group where we shared our poems and did exercises. We became a group of friends and we all got better. Doors began to open and the lights started to go on. We had guest speakers notably Barry Hines and Ian McMillan and Martin Wiley, Martin sadly died then Ian McMillan started to lead the group and we became a workshop. Then other things got in the way and the writing stopped.
More recently I joined a group in Mexborough ran by Steve Ely. Steve introduced real poets and we discussed there writing methods and looked at the poem more deeply, analysing it. Alongside this I also joined “Read to Write” Mexborough headed by Ian Parks. Ian introduced poets as people. His vast knowledge of the “great” poets is phenomenal and R2W took me to another level. I started reading my poems and performing “real” poet’s words in public. So as to who introduced me to poetry it has to be The two Ian`s and Steve and the other poets in the various groups that I have had the pleasure to be associated with.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
Not at all if you mean established figures. I knew about Kipling, Wordsworth and the like but they had no significance to me until fairly recently.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t have one: even if I had the time to have a routine I would not keep to it. Technology is my saviour I always have my mobile or IPad to take notes as they come to me. A snippet of overheard conversation, a thought that pops in to my head, a witnessed incident, they all go down in a note
And looked at later sometimes used sometimes not. I do however find it best to write first thing in a morning or a thought will come on the edge of sleep and I reach for the phone.
5. What motivates you to write?
As above, things that I see, hear or witness.
6. What is your work ethic?
As above I don’t have one: I don’t have drafts I tend to edit as I go along. I find that it is best to let the poem write itself then all I do is edit it and claim it as my own.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
They didn’t as I didn’t I am not a good reader and am Dyslexic. I have to realy interested to read. (So long poems are of little interest) I’m getting better and I see the importance of reading others but I have to admit that I prefer to listen to Ian Parks tell a story.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
That’s a difficult one, the writers of “Read 2 Write” who help, support and inspire.
9. Why do you write?
I guess it’s about leaving something behind, getting your point across uninterrupted and justifying it as “Poetic licence”.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
Write about what you know, about what you feel. Practice exercises. pick a subject ant subject and just write whatever comes in to your head don’t bother about spilling or grammar or punctuation that will come in the editing.,;: Acrostic are good fun, write your name down the side of the page and add one word for each letter. Then expand it in to sentences that make sense`
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I am trying to put together a pamphlet of my poems, I have been doing to do it for a long time so I must get on with it.
I am working on a series of Sonnets, Something that even I would have not imagined me doing.
I have also been thinking of putting a Performance collection together.
I would also like to get some of my short stories and flash fiction finished and put in to some sort of order. If only time were elastic.