Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Bee Parkinson – Cameron

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.

Bee Parkinson – Cameron

is a writer of poetry, short stories and plays. Bee focuses on exploring love in all its forms, the oppositions of life and death and the nature of humanity and what it means to be human. She is passionate about issues such as mental health, domestic abuse, euthanasia, abortion and human sexuality. Bee’s work has been published in several anthologies including ‘collections of poetry and prose: Love, War, Travel and Happy’, ‘the challenges of finding love’ and ‘uncovered voices’. She has also produced two plays ‘The Divine Comedy Show‘ in March 2017 and ‘The Journey Home’ a play about domestic abuse in November 2018.

Links

The Interview

1. When and why did you begin to write poetry?

I began to write poetry when I was 13 years old. It was a way for me to escape from the world that I was living in, to challenge all the negativity of the traumas of my life and the growing issue of my mental health into something productive. It also quickly became a way for me to examine the world and the concept of relationships, natural beauty and just rejoice in the freedom of bird life.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

My dad wrote poetry and I remember some of his poems from when I was young including one about my mum being crabbit (grumpy and bad tempered). In terms of the great poets of our past, I found them through my reading at the library and school assignments. My dad also had this amazing copy of all of Shakespeare’s works that I used to read. I now own that very copy, bequeathed it by my father.

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

I am acutely aware of the poetry of the past ranging all the way from Homer through to Dante to Wordsworth, D.H. Lawrence, Sylvia Plath and Carol Ann Duffy. These people came before us and we need to respect and appreciate the work that they did and the impact that this has on all of us. My writing style has been influenced by some of what I have read across the years.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I write my dreams down in a diary and I write a few words here and there. Sometimes I get snatches of lines in my head and I write them down on pretty much anything. If I don’t write, I plan what I’m going to write instead.

5. What motivates you to write?

Being perfectly honest? I write because to live without writing is something that my soul couldn’t stand. It’s in my blood to write, my grandfather is a writer, my father is a writer and it’s as much a part of me as my eyes or my fingers.

I am inspired by many things and regularly write when I visit places and encounter new people or new situations. I write about concepts such as love and death and freedom. I am also motivated to write by my own experiences, both good and bad, and I write in the hope that I will help influence social change and that my words will be able to help someone else get through the hard times in their life. If I can make it through, then I know you can.

6. What is your work ethic?

I am prone to procrastination sometimes, ‘procrastination for the nation’ as I dubbed it in my younger years. When my motivation is there and present, my work ethic is exceptionally strong to the point where I regularly forsake drinking and eating and other such things. Thankfully, I have a fantastic husband and a best friend who annoys me into eating.

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

Sometimes I don’t even notice the influence that other writers have had on me until either someone points it out or I look back and I begin to notice it myself. Some of my concepts have been influenced by people such as W.H. Auden and D.H. Lawrence. Moving away from poetry, I cannot deny the influence of J.K Rowling as I grew up with the Harry Potter books and of Anne Rice with her almost sensual and erotic style of writing in the Vampire Chronicles (The Vampire Armand being my favourite).

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

Stephen King. Without a doubt a complete Master of his genre. I have never experienced horror like it before, not even reading Lovecraft or Stoker’s Dracula. Stephen crafts his stories like an artist crafts a painting and completely captivates the mind and the soul.

Karin Slaughter’s stories are amazing and her descriptions so graphic and so true (particularly ‘The Good Daughter’).

Robert Harris reawakened a love within me for Roman History, demonstrating such a strong commitment to crafting a story but paying such close attention to the source material and bringing to life a character from centuries ago whose voice still speaks to us now.

9. Why do you write?

I write because if I did not write, I could not live
I write because if I did not write, I could not dream.
If I did not write then I would not thrive
If I did not write then I would not survive.

Every piece of my writing contains a piece of me, an expression of my soul.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

You become a writer by picking up that pen and writing whatever comes into your mind. You become a writer when you push that fear away, the dark whisper in your mind that tells you that you can’t do it, when you pour your heart and your soul into crafting a story or writing a verse and you stop worrying about what the world will think or your family will think, you just do it.

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

I am currently in the process of trying to gather funds together to self-publish my very positively received play based on my own experiences of domestic abuse. A newly set up independent company was going to publish it however the printer they used went into administration so I’m now trying to find another way for the play to continue on and for the story to continue to inspire hope and raise awareness.

I am also revising my first stage play ‘The Divine Comedy Show Part 1’ and finishing Part 2. I am also starting to go through the back catalogue of my poetry to select pieces for a small collection in the future.

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Leela Soma

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.

Tartan

Leela Soma

was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow. Her poems and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and publications, including the National newspaper The Scotsman, The Grind, Visual Verses, New Voices, Gutter, Bangalore Review in India and Steel Bellows in the USA. ‘From Madras to Milngavie’ was her first poetry pamphlet. She has served on the committee for the Milngavie Books and Arts Festivals and on the Scottish Writer’s Centre Committee. Her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland.

Author of ‘Twice Born’, ‘Bombay Baby‘ and ‘Boxed In’

Available on Amazon and Kindle.

Her website is http://www.leelasoma.wordpress.com

The Interview

1

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

One cannot force poems ‘it happens’ is the best way to describe it. I can’t pinpoint a day, time or a particular poet who inspired me to write poems. To me poetry appears in a phrase or lines in the subconscious and writes itself. I also write prose, but that is a completely different skill. Poetry is ‘given’ to you.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

Growing up in India listening to music, songs, mantras, shlokas (In Sanskrit) definitely lends one to poetic exposure from lullabies to verses in later life. The strong oral tradition enhances one’s awareness of rhyme and rhythm in the languages I was attuned to as a youngster. Schooling in a convent brought the English poets to the fore, as we learnt by rote, Wordsworth, Thomas Gray, Keats, Shelley and many others. That dual heritage has enriched me tremendously.

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

I admire the strict format many of the older poets used and Stephen Fry’s Book, the ‘Ode Less Travelled’ gives wonderful exercises to try out the various forms that were used. I never felt a ‘dominating presence ‘of older poets but it is a base to build your own ‘voice’ even if it is extremely different from the classical poets. Kalidasa one of India’s classical poets wrote such beautiful lines “For yesterday is but a dream
and tomorrow is only a vision…” Avvaiyar, a female poet of the 3rd C BCE wrote poems that are still recited by school kids in South India. Her poems have lived through centuries. These are influences that become part of one’s DNA. Since I have lived twice as long I Scotland now than my birth country of India I can see some of my work is influenced by contemporary poets like Jackie Kay our National Laureate, Liz Lochhead.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I don’t have a strict routine especially for poetry. Sometimes I wake up at night and scribble a line or two in a notebook that I keep on my bedside table, or an image that has floated in, may inspire me to write it up properly in the morning.

5. What motivates you to write?

Once it was waiting at a traffic lights and I noticed a sparse tree that made me write a poem on it. It could be a leaf, a snatched conversation overheard in a café, or something I’ve read that motivates me to write.

6.What is your work ethic?

Sometimes you feel an urge to pen those lines so strongly, that you need to type them up. I also tried the NAPOWRIMO, in April, not registered on the site but wrote a few poems that month and two years running I have got a few good poems from that discipline of attempting to write a poem a day for a whole month.
6. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

They must be in one’s subconscious but I don’t think I want to copy their style. Listening to Roger Mc Gough’s ‘Poetry Please,’ on BBC Radio 4 sometimes revives memories of old poems and a line lingers in your mind.

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

There are so many that it is hard to list them all. Maya Angelou, the two Scottish laureates I mentioned above, Kay and Lochhead, Tagore, Lemn Sissy, Zephaniah. Their lyricism, their words strung so perfectly that I want to read the poems again and again. Experiences like Kay’s life growing up as a black child adopted by white parents in Scotland and trying to find her birth origins is fascinating and heart rending.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

As I said before there is an urge to put some words on paper that all writers would understand. Even if it is not your best you need to write, it is sometimes an overwhelming feeling.

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

Read, read, read, write, write and write. There is no better thing to do than keep the writing muscle going. There are no clear career options to become a writer. There are courses in Creative Writing in most universities where you can learn the craft of writing but one must have that ‘need’ to write even if one cannot make a living out of it. And be prepared to face rejections and accept that not all those hours of writing will be lauded by all.

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

I recently published my second collection of poems’ Tartan and Turmeric’ and it is available on Amazon. I am writing short stories and more poems. The third novel has the first draft completed but editing needs to be done. I serve on the Committee for my local ‘Milngavie Week, and I am on the East Dunbartonshire Arts, & Culture Committee. With a friend I run a writers group, Bearsden Writers, a monthly meeting of local writers. So these are a few projects that are keeping me busy.

My National Poetry Month challenge to myself has become a collaboration between synaesthetic artist Sammy-John, myself, Anjum Wasim Dar and Jay Gandhi: Day Twenty: A Blackbirds

Blackbirds

Blackbirds

A Blackbirds

From the English version of ‘Epulario’ (The Italian Banquet), published in 1598;

“To Make Pie That the Birds May Be Alive In them and Flie Out When It Is Cut Up: …you shal put it into the coffin, withall put into the said coffin round about the aforesaid pie as many small live birds as the empty coffin will hold, besides the pie aforesaid. And this is to be at such time as you send the pie to the table, and set before the guests: where uncovering or cutting up the lid of the great pie, all the birds will flie out, which is to delight and pleasure…”

four and twenty in the pastry coffin.
Listen before you slice into it.
Is that a Robin or Blackbird’s
short, sweet song verses,
then endless improvisation?

The song a more mellow,
fluty whistle, four or five clear sounds
end with a weak, squeaky twiddle,
than long still notes that flood
into trickle, gush and gurgle
of the redbreast.

Take your sharpened knife
release the winged tasty notes
into colourful air to escape
through Spring’s opened warm windows,
and airing doors a new year’s feast.

2019 Paul Brookes

BLACKBIRDS

nibbled
at my dreams

flew away
with everything

live like
princes
in the jungle
whistle whole day

they’ve stocked
for their
50 generations

By Jay Gandhi

Blackbirds

Four and twenty, no more
Sacred or evil,
Yellow winged or melodious
Tri-coloured or pale,
It is still, a blackbird

Saintly to the Greeks,
Natures symbol of freedom
For some, of desire and temptation,
For a third, of salvation

What caused man to do blackbirding?
Know that blackbirds small, saved the house of worship-
While others with rye, broke the house of kingship,
One group in grace flies high
The other sits and hides in a pie.

2019 © CER Anjum Wasim Dar

My National Poetry Month challenge to myself has become a collaboration between synaesthetic artist Sammy-John, myself, Anjum Wasim Dar and Jay Gandhi: Day Nineteen: The Untitled

Untitled Oil

Untitled

Untitled Haiku

For one dirham I
bought a cheongsam, for
journey to Siam

Map showed a whirlpool
bounded by reddish bushes,
crocodile in it,

I held the gisarme,
read lines by poet Khayyam,
sat in a wigwam,

Once on Siam land
wore cheongsam, with gisarme
cut the crocodile.

2019 © CER     Anjum Wasim Dar

Untitled

There is a point in the painting
where all the colours gel

I asked my counsellor the difference
between like and love—
if you like a flower, you pluck it
and if you love it, you don’t

Now that’s simple!

The day when you confided
in me that your mother has
Paranoid Schizophrenia
I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU
No questions asked.

Well, actually,
is there a point where you
can dislodge a flower out of its
groove—
pluck it and yet not pluck it?

By Jay Gandhi

No More Fetch

you here,
Fetch you home.

Fetch my lips to thine.
Fetch my arse to this.

Fetch you dinner.
Fetch you a snog.

Fetch your groceries.
Fetch your washing and ironing.

Fetch your slippers
Fetch my social to your wallet.

Fetch my hand up to stop thy fist.
Fetch your belongings in a black bag.

Fetch your gob and its mouthful.
Fetch mesen to thy want.

2019 Paul Brookes

“The Carpenter’s Son”, two poems… two visions, Sara Teasdale and A.E. Houseman

Happy Good Friday.

THE POET BY DAY

Kreuzigung von Gabriel Wüger, Andachtsbildchen auf dem Vorsatzblatt der Ausgabe des Schott-Messbuchs von 1952

“The soul of the artist cannot remain hidden.”  Henri Nouwen



  • I’m on vacation. This is a prescheduled post. Regular posting will begin again with Wednesday Writing Prompt on April 24 and Opportunity Knocks on April 25.
  • Calls for Submissions, Contests, and Events are posted on The Poet by Day Facebook Page.   
  • You are encouraged to display your work (poetry, art, photography, cartoons, music videos and so forth) and your  artistic successes and other arts-related announcements at The BeZine Arts & Humanities Facebook Group Page


Many people are honoring Good Friday today, a day considered holy by some and that you likely know even if you are not Christian. These two poems are offered without judgement or analyses, simply as an example of different responses by poets of the same era to a moment marked by…

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Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Charles Brice

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.

Charlie Brice

is a retired psychoanalyst and is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (forthcoming), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere.

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I started out as a fiction writer. I wrote a couple novels but wasn’t happy with them. Tinkered with them endlessly. I wrote poems in high school and in college, then met my wife to be, the poet Judith Brice, read a couple of her poems, and stopped writing poetry for about 25 years! About 15 years ago, Judy and I attended a writers’ conference in Michigan: Judy as a poet and me as a fiction writer. I had some down time and Judy talked me into attending a workshop offered by Maria Mazziotti Gillan (the Editor of Paterson Literary Review). Maria gave us an assignment: write a poem that refers to a popular song. I wrote a poem called “The Game,” about going to a minor league baseball game with our son, Ariel. On a lark I sent it in to a magazine and it got published immediately. More and more of that happened with my poems and I discovered that I was a poet!

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

Well…my first poetry teacher was a horrible woman named Sister Humbert, a Dominican nun who was a full fledged sadist. She made us sixth graders memorize a poem and I memorized Excelsior by Longfellow. I immortalized this experience in my first book, Flashcuts Out of Chaos, with my poem, “My First Poetry Teacher.” Actually, the nuns, for all their faults or because of them, have turned out to be terrific muses for me. The guy who really got me writing poetry was named Bernie Beaver, my freshman English teacher at the University of Wyoming. He really wasn’t a very good teacher, but one thing he drilled into our heads was that “anything can be a poem.” I will forever be thankful to him for that. Because of him I never run out of subjects to write about. Just recently I wrote a poem about what I don’t want to write about. See what I mean?

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I never thought of these wonderful people as “dominating,” but as poets whom I loved to read and learn from. I suppose the first poet I loved was e.e. cummings. You’re not supposed to like cummings now. You’re supposed to think of him as a light weight. But lines like, “It may not always be so, and I say, that if your lips should touch another’s as mine in time not far away”…or “nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands” (this may not be perfect–just rattling off the top of my head), lines like those just send me someplace out of this world. Other American poets that I loved: Theodore Roethke, Thomas Lux, Jim Harrison, and the great European poets, especially Rilke, Dylan Thomas, Keats, Shelly, Shakespeare, of course, also Dawson and Swinburne. All those wonderful writers, they were all so inspiring to me. People I could not only learn from, but get comfort from. I used to hand out poems to some of my patients. Hopkins’ poem, “Margarat are you grieving over golden groves unleaving” was especially helpful to people undergoing vast life changes.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I spend the morning reading. I love fiction, am rereading Jim Harrison’s, The English Major, and Dickins’ Bleak House right now. Just finished, today, The Galloping Hour, by Alejandra Pizarniek–a South American poet who wrote in French and who was clearly interested in the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, and I’m reading Lawrence Krauss’ book on astro physics, A Universe From Nothing. I find physics, especially quantum mechanics, to be an orchard of metaphor for poets. In the afternoon I go up to my study and write. If I don’t have a new poem, I edit and revise old poems, especially ones that have been rejected. I submit a group of poems every day. I see submission as part of my writing day. I love the entire process including editing my work and doing interviews like this one.

5. What motivates you to write?

I think my main motivation is interest in the world and in what we are all up to in our lives. When I was at the Universtiy of Wyoming I was lucky enough to run into a philosophy professor, Richard L. Howey. I took loads of courses from him. Richard taught us to be interested in everything and skeptical of everything and to think before we speak and anticipate the arguments of others before we venture into a debate or dialogue. I have dedicated my new poetry collection, An Accident of Blood, to Richard.

6. What is your work ethic?

My work ethic? I write every day, or submit, or revise. I really feel horrible if I don’t do one or all of those things every day. I can write in all conditions and almost anywhere. I usually start out in longhand in a notebook I carry with me everywhere, then type it up, get it on the computer and go from there. It’s unusual for me to send out a poem that hasn’t gone through at least 7 revisions. Some have been revised as many as 30 times. One poem, Soulium (in my second book, Mnemosyne’s Hand) was accepted 20 minutes after I wrote it! That’s a record for me.

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

Cummings remains an influence. I want to write poems that provoke an emotional response in the reader. I don’t care for the more academic writers, the Ashbury’s of this world. If I can’t feel something or if my world isn’t improved by reading a poem, then I’m not interested. Tom Lux and Jim Harrison always produced strong feeling in me and that’s what I want to do in my own work.

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

I admire so many writers. I love Facebook because I’ve “met” some great writers like Ace Boggess and Gary Glauber there. I admire their work immensely. I think the poetry of my teachers is wonderful: Jack Ridl, Michael Dickman, Robert Fanning, Richard Tillinghast, Maria Gillan, and Maria Howe are terrific teachers and wonderful poets. The poetry community here in Pittsburgh is incredible. Every day of the year, all year long, there is at least one poetry reading in our city. It’s incredible! My favorite poets here are, Judy Brice (my wife), Jason Irwin, Jen Ashburn, Angele Ellis, Janette Schafer, Joan E. Bauer, Michael Wurster and a slew of others too numerous too mention. I feel very lucky to live in this city.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

I don’t really know why I write. I just write. I can’t imagine not writing. I’m retired now. I was a psychoanalyst for 35 years and I’m much happier as a poet. I miss my patients, but my analytic colleagues were, mostly, much more troubled than my patients. I haven’t met any writers that are as troubled as my former colleagues. Anyway, I just love writing and I’m not sure why I do. I just do.

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

As for advice on how to become a writer–read, read everything. Do what Howey taught us to do: be interested in everything. My mother always said that if you’re bored, it’s your own fault. You’re not looking far enough or deep enough into your world. She was right. In terms of the writing itself, the most important thing to overcome is the inner critic, what we called in my former profession, the super ego. There will always be a “voice” in your head that will tell you not to write somethin or that no one will be interested in what you say or that you are immature… . Fuck all that. Get rid of the critic. Often, the very stuff you’re critic is telling you not to write is what readers will be most interested in. Also, allow the music you love to influence you. I always write with a soundtrack (usually classical music, but that’s just me).

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

My new book, An Accident of Blood, should be out in just a couple weeks. I’ve got almost enough poems in the hopper for a fourth book. Aside from that, I’m busy arranging readings and promoting my latest book, Mnemosyne’s Hand, in any way that I can. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to do this interview. Thanks so much.

Celebrating Diversity, Form, and Voice: National Poetry Month

Worth a gander

Discover

It’s National Poetry Month in the United States and Canada! Every April, the Academy of American Poets organizes a month-long celebration of poetry to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry. Today we join in the festivities by featuring some poetry, book recommendations, and more.


An Ode to a Broken Marker: Why Not?

Sometimes it takes a child’s perspective to remind us that poetry is all around us. MsMac is a library media specialist at Silver Star Elementary in Vancouver, Washington. Throughout the month of April, she’s been working with a group of fourth-grade students writing poems about inanimate objects in the classroom. We loved Ruben’s tribute to a broken marker and Tim’s ode to the calendar.

Lost and forgotten marker
I am as leaky as a river coming into the sea
overused, gross, ugly
we chucked you in the trash
yucky, unneeded, broken marker

~Ruben

Organized calendar
I’m as…

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