Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following writers 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.
Maiya Calise Dambawinna
1. When and why did you start writing poetry?
A lot of my poetry started as a way to deal with emotions – Id been sporadically trying to write a diary (and absolutely failing) so poetry sort of came naturally. I always say that I started PROPERLY writing about a year and a half ago, but generally around 3 years ago x
When I first started writing it was full of cliches metaphors and I can’t say it was distinctly my own style, I was very much copying poets I’d read! I think properly writing is when you can transition into your own style and create your own phrases x
1.1 Which poets did you copy?
Madisen Kuhn, R.H. Sin, Rupi Kaur
1.2 What is it about these writers that appeals to you?
I must admit I’ve strayed away from them now; with Madisen, it was the fact she was a young female writer and that obviously resonated with me. She dealt with emotions fantastically and the way she wrote “18 years” was beautiful. With Kaur and Sin, it was more their style – they rejected rhyme and long poems and just wrote how they wanted to, and still managed to make it poignant and I really liked that.
3. How aware are you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?
Very aware, I’m quite widely read with classical poets. I’ve read Ovid and Catullus and love their literary style
I think my own poetry is a mix of both classical and modern influences.
3.1 Their “literary style”?
The way they structure their works and the words/phrases they use. It’s very distinctive in classical literature.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
About 9:30pm every night I sit and write or edit for an hour without fail. However, I also write when inspiration strikes during the day. I tend to draw inspiration from movie lines or song lyrics or pieces of art so if i see something, I’ll record it and write about it there and then or save it for later.
5. What motivates your writing?
Quite a few factors to be honest, I’ve always written for myself – it’s a cathartic way for me to sort through my own emotions, but recently people have been the driving force. My parents and my best friends and boyfriend all push me to better my writing and keep going every day.
6. What is your work ethic?
Dedicated, If I’m struggling writing I’ll read a book or listen to music and actively search for inspiration
7. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
I think Caroline Bird, especially after being lucky enough to meet her. The surrealism in her poems is so well constructed and I’ve never met anyone so passionate about what they do
8. Why do you write?
Because I think writing is the most poignant form of explaining circumstance and history
9. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
To start reading everything and anything you can, and just to write. I know it sounds silly but you need to start with writing cliches to be able to discover ‘your’ writing style
Just to keep writing every day, get inspired by anything they see
10. And finally, Maiya tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I’m currently working on three poems for the National Poetry Competition and also a small collection for the Foyle New Poets Prize.