Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Pam Thompson

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.

Pam Thompson

Pam Thompson

is a poet, lecturer, reviewer and writing tutor based in Leicester. Her publications include The Japan Quiz ( Redbeck Press, 2009) and Show Date and Time, (Smith | Doorstop, 2006). Pam has a PhD in Creative Writing and her second collection, Strange Fashion, was recently published by Pindrop Press.

Web-site pamthompsonpoetry@wordpress.com

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

Reading it. I always liked writing from a young age, stories mainly. At around the age of fourteen, I began to read poetry at school – Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas spring to mind. A little later I began to go to readings – one of the first must have been the Liverpool Poets. By now, I was writing – imitating other people at first, but that’s okay, it’s not a bad way to start. And, like many other people, I had one or two particularly encouraging teachers.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

See above really.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I didn’t think of it. I don’t think I had that kind of awareness then. I know that there is a particular ‘canon’ where older, male poets predominate but I’ve read around that for years. My tastes are pretty eclectic.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I’d like to say I had one but I don’t. I write as and when, preferably first thing. I’m always planning to plan a routine but it never happens. Sometimes I write on my phone in the middle of the night – a very bad habit for an insomniac.

5. What motivates you to write?

Reading terrific poetry. I read to try to find out how poets create their poems. I can’t imagine not writing. I’m involved in organising spoken word event, Word!,at Attenborough Arts in Leicester and hearing the range of poems performed there is incredibly motivating. Writing course run by, for example, the Arvon Foundation, The Old Olive Press at Almasserra Vella and The Poetry Business. I’ve had some inspirational tutors.

6. What is your work ethic?

I’m pretty driven. I completed a PhD in Creative Writing in 2016 – that included a poetry collection which still needs some revision and I’ll be working on that very soon I I was working full-time when I did it and it took seven years to complete. I look back and I still don’t know how I managed it. I had terrific, supportive supervisors.

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

It’s difficult to know. I’m not sure they do consciously but subconsciously, everything we ever read must be mulch for what we are writing now.

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

I can’t answer that because there are so many. Like I have said, I read a lot and am open to experiencing many different types of poetry.

9. Why do you write?

It keeps me sane. I can’t imagine not writing. To discover what I didn’t know. To create. To be part of a writing community. To carry on having discussions about writing and reading poetry with other writers.

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

I’d ask them if they were already writing. If the answer was yes, well, they are writers already. “How do you become a published writer?” is another question. The response would depend on how long they had been writing, how they viewed the writing they did and what they thought they might gain from being published. To either question I’d say read a wide range of poetry.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

As I’ve mentioned above, revising my PhD Collection. I plan to do more collaborative work with talented writer, artist and musician, Ben Webb, also known as Jinwoo. Ben designed the cover of Strange Fashion.  He is also a member of a great up-and-coming contemporary folk band, Bird in the Belly. https://www.facebook.com/birdinthebelly/ I also intend to update my blog.

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