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.
Peter Raynard is editor of Proletarian Poetry; poems of working class lives (www.proletarianpoetry.com). He has written two books of poetry; his debut collection ‘Precarious’ (Smokestack, 2018) and The Combination: a poetic coupling of the Communist Manifesto (Culture Matters, 2018)
1. What inspired you to write poetry?
I wasn’t inspired to write poetry. It was a totally alien thing to me; at least in how it had appeared to be from afar. Although Malika Booker showed me it can be more relevant to my own working class background, enough to get me writing (it was a module of a MA), I have since found that predominantly poetry generally isn’t. However, there is enough poetry that I found interesting and important.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
Malika Booker, when teaching me on my MA course. Then Jo Bell, who was my mentor a few years ago.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
I find this question a bit left field, in that all of the other questions are about writing itself, yet this one makes a statement about a particular demographic. I feel the dominating presence is not so much to do with age, rather more to do with the themes and agendas of a white middle class generally cocooned from political events, thus rarely writing about them and so we don’t see poetry that reflects the wider world.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t have one. I am disabled, so it is when my body and mind allow me to. But I generally manage a couple of hours during the day.
5. What motivates you to write?
The feeling I have something to say that isn’t being said by many people, especially those who hold the power.
6. What is your work ethic?
Don’t let people down.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I didn’t start reading until I was in my mid-20s. None of it was poetry. It was mainly the Russian greats. I have been reading poetry since 2012, and a lot of it is young poets.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
Fran Lock and Melissa Lee Houghton. They are fearless in their writing, highly intelligent, and are top of the tree.
9. Why do you write?
See answer 5
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
Go to a writing class. The main reason being you will be amongst your own, and you will learn together. Writing is lonely enough.
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I continue to write poems for my second collection, and write features for my blog Proletarian Poetry.