Wombwell Rainbow Ongoing Book Interview: “Like This” by Neil Elder. Question 1.


-Neil Elder

has been published in a number of leading journals and magazines. His latest work is Like This from 4Word Press. His first pamphlet Codes of Conduct (Cinnamon Press) was shortlisted for a Saboteur Award, his debut collection won the Cinnamon Press Debut Prize. He explores the gaps between what we think we know about ourselves and others, and what we really know. He occasionlally blogs at  https://neilelderpoetry.wordpress.com/

The Interview

Q:1: How did you decide on the order of the poems in your book?

The first two poems might serve to set the tone of the book – and so I went for a couple that I am particularly confident of, and that establish a couple of the themes that might crop up in the collection. Equally I want the last poem to feel like a satisfactory and strong finish. I then look for poems that chime with one another, but also try to vary the short with the longer poems. Essentially I want to move seamlessly through the work – no great lurches in style or pitch, and yet managing to keep things moving along. I think one can over-think it, and unless the poems have a particular narrative arc then I am not sure what odds it makes. I have published work where the sequence of the poems is vital, but in Like This the poems can stand alone. And I think Paul Farley is right in ‘Phone Books’ when he compares the phone book to a book of poetry, “A book you can open somewhere in the middle / like cities themselves, like books of poetry.”. How many people read a collection of poems in chronological order?


More answers tomorrow.

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