Wombwell Rainbow Ongoing Book Interview: “Bloom” by Sarah Westcott. Question 4.

Bloom

-Sarah Westcott

grew up in north Devon and lives on the edge of London. Her first pamphlet, Inklings, was a Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice and Slant Light (Pavilion Poetry, 2016), was highly commended in the Forward Prize. Her second collection, Bloom, also with Pavilion Poetry, was published this year. Sarah was a news journalist for twenty years and now works as a freelance tutor and writer. Work has appeared on beermats, billboards and buses, baked into sourdough bread and installed in a nature reserve, triggered by footsteps.

Q:4. How important is form in your poetry ?

It depends on the poem – I listen to it and feel it. Each poem finds its final form, or the form shows itself, through editing and reading aloud.  Formal form is something I would like to become more confident with. I teach it but I don’t necessarily feel any sense of managing it very well it when I write myself – I imagine it must be a little like riding a horse, reining it in and getting it gallop at different points. I feel I need muscles and experience that I don’t have yet. So when I write in strict form the poems can feel unrealised. I need more practice. I admire Hannah Lowe and Jacqui Saphra’s formal fluidity and deftness. It is like they can pick up an instrument and play it.

I like thinking of the space around the poem as a kind of living humming forcefield or a kind of skin which we pierce with text. This gives the space around the poem more reverence and helps shape the lines and line endings, the shape and where the breath falls.  

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The best place to buy a signed copy is to contact her directly (send a DM on twitter) or email Sarah.westcott@tiscali.co.uk

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More answers tomorrow.

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