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.
Veronica was featured at the Torbay Poetry Festival. Her first collection was published by Indigo Dreams in November 2018: Nothing About the Birds Is Ordinary This Morning
She is the co-founder and one of the organisers of Teignmouth Poetry Festival and Poetry Teignmouth. She runs an Open Mic quarterly in Teignmouth and produces an anthology from the event each year. She has read at different venues around the South West including Taunton, Torquay, Exeter, Totnes and Teignmouth over the last four years, shortly after I started writing poetry. I am a member of the Poetry Society and Moor Poets.
- What inspired you to write poetry?
To begin with I wanted to leave a sense of who I was for my grandchildren, but after about eighteen months I had the realisation that the truth doesn’t make the best poetry. What I couldn’t know before I started, is that once you start writing regularly it just keeps coming whether you want it to or not.
- Who introduced you to poetry?
Miss Lane, a teacher I had at primary school introduced me to the music of poetry in Eliot’s cat poems and a friend called Peter Scott re-introduced me poetry at university. That was when I became aware of the power of the content. He was reading English Lit. so I followed his poetry reading list and as he wrote poetry too, I went to readings with him.
- How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
Thanks to Peter very aware, not all of them appealed though. The ones that caught my attention were Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, William Carlos Williams, Seamus Heaney, Walt Whitman and the Liverpool poets.
- What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t have a daily routine although I usually write or do a bit or editing each day. Mainly I like to write before I get out of bed, or sometimes I get up in the night – poems often start coming in the gap between sleep and waking.
- What motivates you to write?
Poetry just comes, all I do is write it down. I guess it’s stuff my unconscious mind wants to dump for whatever reason. It’s often about incidents I hardly remember,
or sometimes when I’m being present in nature, it’s as if the beauty is too much to handle without writing it down, sharing it.
- What is your work ethic?
It’s pretty good once I’ve set time aside to write.
- How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I think this must happen at an unconscious level after all we are just an amalgam of our experiences. I tend to be more influenced by poems I come across now that really move me.
- Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
I tend to have favourite poems by lots of different poets including Fiona Benson, Pascale Petit, John Burnside, Penny Shuttle, Kayo Chingonyi. It’s always the poems that speak to my body and not my head.
- Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?
I assume you mean anything else creative. I used to paint a bit, but I really like the rigour of writing.
- What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
Begin by reading the kind of material you want to write, then begin writing, edit it and edit it until you’re happy, then stick it away for a few months, then reappraise.
Repeat over and over.
- Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I’ve just finished writing a collection called “In the Wrong Nest” about being adopted in the 1950s. It’s written in the voice of a character called Emily and is divided into three parts: Chick, Fledgling and Adult Bird. It’s based partly on my own experience and partly on research. I was a psychotherapist in one of my previous lives.