Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Anthony Gorman

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.

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Anthony Gormsn

introduces himself On his WordPress site:
I am a Social Worker by day and an artist/writer by night. I use the written word in an attempt to make sense of the secret worlds and dysfunctional dynamics that lurk beneath the facades of our daily interactions. I am not sure how my writing styles are characterized, nor am I overly concerned about it. I am immensely enthusiastic about music and often connect better with songs than I do people. I also have an intense appreciation for quality wines and whiskies, frequently consuming them in excess. I like things that smell good and struggle to manage the symptoms of a life-long relationship with depression. So, why “grumpygorman”? Spend some time here and find out…

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I started when I was hospitalized during an episode of psychosis..and have since. It’s better therapy than any formalized incarnation of it has ever been. I write now because it’s my lifeblood..and it’s one tangible thing I have to share with the world that will outlast me. The value of my poetry will be fully realized long after I am dead and gone. Right now it’s just poems

1.1 How did poetry help?

It allowed me to take my ugly and difficult feelings and process them in a way that didn’t lead to judgment of others and was less likely to land me in trouble or concern others (I didn’t share my poetry back then. It was just for my own processing)

You can be as extreme as you want in poetry.. no rules..

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

It was probably music and song lyrics. I had a loose knowledge of poets like Poe, Plath and Cummings but it was lyricists like Robert Smith of the Cure, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Tori Amos that demonstrated how well crafted and dramatic poetic language can lift you and transport you to somewhere otherworldly..

I am embarrassingly poorly read for someone who considers themself a poet..by most typical standards

3. How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I have a basic knowledge of classical poets and find that I have done more exploration of formal poetry over the last couple of years. I would say that most of my favourite posts are obscure writers I’ve stumbled upon online. Sometimes I am floored by how many relatively unknown talented poets are out there. I guess it isn’t that surprising when you consider the introvert, reclusive nature of many artists or writers. I find that it’s the loudest and most driven that makes print these days but certainly not necessarily the best. I think that my lack of exposure to poetry actually helped my own writing because I wasn’t guided by the influence of others’ works. I believe it allowed me to find my own distinct style quicker than I might have otherwise.. for better or for worse..

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I write mainly in the evening, overnight..I try writing during the day but my output is disappointing. I always write with music playing, in the same recliner chair on my laptop. I have two lamps I have replaced bulbs with blue ones and I most often burn wood scented candles.. so I write by blue light with woody fire smell. It sounds pretentious and specific, but it’s how I like it. Then I usually write a poem in barebones skeletal format.. then I nuance it with more dramatic or cryptic language.. to make it more interesting and visual to read.. I often overwork my writing, by my own admission..but I like cramming a lot of visual and language into small spaces. My poems require more than an initial read.. and those without the patience, or interest, will simply move on.. I have such an appreciation for those who read and share their thoughts about my writing because I know they’ve had to truly engage with it…and that’s humbling.

5. What is your daily writing routine?

I write mainly in the evening, overnight..I try writing during the day but my output is disappointing. I always write with music playing, in the same recliner chair on my laptop. I have two lamps I e replaced bulbs with blue ones and I most often burn wood scented candles.. so I write by blue light with woody fire smell. It sounds pretentious and specific, but it’s how I like it. Then I usually write a poem in barebones skeletal format.. then I nuance it with more dramatic or cryptic language.. to make it more interesting and visual to read.. I often overwork my writing, by my own admission..but I like cramming a lot of visual and language into small spaces. My poems require more than an initial read.. and those without the patience, or interest, will simply move on.. I have such an appreciation for those who read and share their thoughts about my writing because I know they’ve had to truly engage with it…and that’s humbling

6. What motivates you to write?

I wouldn’t say in motivated to write as much as it feels like necessity. I do feel like putting art into the world is a beneficial thing as it does open minds, makes people think and adds colour and challenge to a world built so much on rules and homogeny. Perhaps someone can relate to the emotions being expressed and can feel less alone…the way I did with music when I was young but those are wishes. I am not under any belief or assumption that my poetry does anything beyond help me process my complex emotions. Regarding poetry topics…I am inspired my people and their complex good and evil natures…how good people do bad things and how bad people are capable of good..the grey areas of personal interaction..pain, loss, loneliness, love,joy..universal emotions.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I didn’t really read writers much when I was young like I stated previously, but my favourite lyricists inspired me to try to find different ways of trying to craft or express how I feel, beyond the obvious. Seeing how others were able to create magical escapes simply through words and images…prompted me to try to think of things in different ways.. bend the rules on regular thoughts.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

I would say it’s many of the obscure indie poets hidden in the books if WordPress that gave my respect. The ones that write because they have passion for it, share it because they wish to…but don’t try to step over other poets or become a walking self promotion add in order to have a piece considered for a poetry magazine. There’s a poet that goes by the name erroneous choices, another that writes for Sudden Denouement poetry collective that I would consider my favourites. Women poets, often with lived experience with trauma’s work seems to resonate with me.. I’ve developed. Greater appreciation for Oscar Wilde and Lou Reed as of late..

9. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

You just write..and write what’s true to you..the second to try to write like someone or attempt to “be something” is the moment you cease to succeed. This isn’t to say you don’t try different things and push yourself to improve and grow ..but it’s gotta come from you, to be worth something to the world (in my opinion). What the world lacks is unique voices, not competent recreations of what’s already there..Practice, force yourself to writer even when you don’t want to. Develop self-discipline. Write to learn and for the process, not the product. If you write authentically, the poems will come. Ask other writers for feedback and be open to what they have to say. This isn’t to say that you incorporate all feedback into your writing..but listen.. ask questions and learn from others that do. Be generous, help promote and elevate other writers you appreciate. Be real, be humble and be grateful.

10.  What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

You just write..and write what’s true to you..the second to try to write like someone or attempt to “be something” is the moment you cease to succeed. This isn’t to say you don’t try different things and push yourself to improve and grow ..but it’s gotta come from you, to be worth something to the world (in my opinion). What the world lacks is unique voices, not competent recreations of what’s already there..Practice, force yourself to writer even when you don’t want to. Develop self-discipline. Write to learn and for the process, not the product. If you write authentically, the poems will come. Ask other writers for feedback and be open to what they have to say. This isn’t to say that you encoporate all feedback into your writing..but listen.. ask questions and learn from others that do. Be generous, help promote and elevate other writers you appreciate. Be real, be humble and be grateful.

11. And finally, Anthony, tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I’ve had a longstanding idea to release a poetry book combined with my visual art. Unfortunately in a big idea person and get bogged down in details and have trouble getting organized to follow through. The unpredictable nature of my mental health can also make it a challenge. I’ve been chatting with some fellow poets about the creation of a new poetry collective but it’s in the very beginning stages. For the most part, I continue to write on my WordPress page. I have a modest, but very engaged and loyal group of readers who are undying in their support. I am a small scale poet and due to my introverted nature and the “eccentricity” and the unusual topic/theme and mood jumping my writing does, I don’t think I’ll ever likely gain a mass or mainstream following, and I am mostly ok with that.  (Though my bank account might disagree with that statement.) Thanks for taking the time to ask me questions. It was a pleasure sharing thoughts with you. All the best, Paul.

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