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.
Born Stirling, Scotland in 1966, Gillian Prew studied Philosophy at the University of Glasgow from 1984 to 1988.
Her chapbook, Disconnections, can be purchased from erbacce-press (2011) and another chapbook, In the Broken Things, published by Virgogray Press (2011). Her collection, Throats Full of Graves, has been published in 2013 by Lapwing Publications. A further collection, A Wound’s Sound, was released from Oneiros Books in April 2014. Her chapbook, Three Colours Grief, was published by erbacce-press in June 2016. Her latest project (a collaboration with the poet and artist, Karen Little) is a small booklet contributing to a series raising funds for an animal shelter.
She has been twice short-listed for the erbacce-prize and twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
1. What inspired you to write poetry?
I had been writing a novel for well over a decade and decided to write a poem as a literary exercise. It wasn’t very good. I was 41 at the time, so came to it pretty late. Somehow I just didn’t stop writing them, especially when I found each one more satisfying than the last.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
Like most people I had to study poems at school but wasn’t inspired at the time to keep reading poetry when I went to university. My interest didn’t develop until my 40s and was pretty much self-driven.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
When I started writing poetry I didn’t give it much thought. The first poet I read in depth was Charles Bukowski, only because I had been reading his novel ‘Post Office’, and seemed to segue into his poems.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t have one. I have a job which requires that I work shifts and so depending on these and my level of tiredness I fit writing around it. Having said that, I am always reading poetry and thinking about the poem that I am writing, which I consider an integral part of the writing process.
5. What motivates you to write?
I look upon it as a tiny antidote to suffering.
6. What is your work ethic?
I don’t even like that phrase. Poetry isn’t Capitalsim.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I have always read a lot and I’m sure some of those writers have influenced me subliminally but when I was young I read only novels.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
I adore Les Murray. I love his use of language and his appreciation of the natural world.
9. Why do you write?
I write because I feel that I have something to say and I want to say it as beautifully as I can. I find writing poetry very liberating.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
If it’s about money then don’t bother. The only two necessities are to read extensively and do some actual writing. The more you do of these the better your writing will become.
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I have just finished a little booklet, your verb is all water and light, which is part of a series of poetry booklets Karen Little is publishing to raise money for a couple of animal shelters. As an advocate for animal rights I jumped at the chance to be involved in this. It’s my 6th publication.