Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Fiona Pitt-Kethley

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.

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Fiona Pitt-Kethley

says in her Amazon profile “I am the  author of more than twenty books of prose and poetry. I live in Spain with my husband, the chess grandmaster James Plaskett, our son Alexander and some feral cats i have adopted. I have written for the Times, Telegraph, independent, Guardian, London Review of Books, Oldie and other publications. My last poetry was Mineral Adventures from Rack Press. Most of my older titles are now available for Kindle. I am currently hoping to sell a large new poetry collection, Around the World in Eighty Lays, a shorter one on the mining of the Sierra Minera and two prose books: a general one on life in Spain and one on collecting minerals in the Sierra Minera. I have called that Washing Amethysts in the Bidet. I live in Cartagena where my hobbies include mountain walking, snorkelling and rock collecting. My agent is Annette Crossland of A for Authors.”

The Interview
1. What were the circumstances under which you began to write poetry?
I started as a child at 7. I was already reading Paradise Lost and other difficult books.

2 . Who introduced you to poetry?
My mother by reading to me and by having a full tall bookcase of the stuff available to dip into.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
The great ones were something to live up to.

4. What is your daily writing routine?
Flexible. I write prose as well as poetry and I like to do a lot of exercise and go on adventures which I can subsequently write about. Sometimes hours writing at home or in the library. Sometimes more time spent submitting or finishing off pieces.

5. What motivates you to write?

Several different things. Anger, sometimes. Knowing I can do it better than many of those out there. Wanting to record something that is going – places, history, etcetera.

6. What is your work ethic?
Do as much as I can.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I still love the best ones: Shakespeare, Milton, etcetera. The Metaphysical poets were a big influence as was Latin satire. There are elements of both in my writing though not many people see this.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
So many writers out there it is hard to choose. Probably Tony Harrison for his classical elements and David Morley for his observation of nature and the Romany touches. I may well have missed some I would like. Perhaps easiest to say what I don’t like. I am less keen on prose poems and very long lines. I have a dislike visually of the very long line with a pause in the middle and shaped poems. I also don’t like the sort of typical creative workshopped poem as it does not have enough individuality. I am a bit suspicious of the whole creative writing scene and think, on the whole, it has done more damage than good.

9. Why do you write?
A need to record and transmit my way of seeing things. This may be pointing out a universal truth or sketching something transient.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
Write a lot, read a lot, submit a lot.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I have 4 books to offer with my agent, 2 poetry, 2 prose. Washing Amethysts in the Bidet is about the Sierra Minera and its history. It has been a huge project of physical research, going down mines, etcetera across ten years or more. There is nothing else on this subject in English and not much in Spanish. The prose also sparked a series of poems on the same subject, In Search of San Valentín. The other poetry book I am trying to sell in Around the World in Eighty Lays. The otherprose  book is a general one about my life in Spain, Traitor or Ambassador. I also have enough poems for a pamphlet on the Cats of Cartagena. I am working on more poems and a picaresque novel, plus various essays.


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