Thursday, 22 August 2019

Anne Walsh Donnelly : part four

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

I’ve been very fortunate to have encountered some generous poets who have given me constructive and encouraging feedback on my work. John Corless, the first poet to read my work back in 2012, gave me great advice. At the time I was focussing on writing short stories as I believed I wasn’t writing ‘real poems,’ despite John’s encouragement. In 2017, I started writing poetry seriously and took some online courses and workshops. Thanks to Adam Wyeth and Kevin Higgins, I started to believe I was writing ‘real’ poems. I also got great encouragement from participants in Kevin’s online poetry workshops. Their support gave me the confidence I needed to continue writing, to continue to be ‘daring’ in my work and write the un-writable.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Beth Gordon : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

Kaveh Akbar’s Calling a Wolf a Wolf, C.T. Salazar’s This Might Have Meant Fire, Alicia Mountain’s High Ground Coward, Bianca Stone’s The Mobius Strip Club of Grief.

Ellen Chang-Richardson : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

Always a combination. This summer, it’s Adam Dickenson’s Anatomic, Phoebe Wang’s Admission Requirements, The Paris Review #228, The Feathertale Review #22, and PRISM international #57.3 RUIN.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Lauren Carter : part four

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

Poetry and metaphor are how we encode the human experience. The things that cannot be explained matter-of-factly or within prose - death, grieving, heart-break, profound joy, transcendent experience - can be given a home in the incredibly flexible form of poetry.

Last week, while backcountry camping, I witnessed a dragonfly exit its nymphal form, a miraculous happening that is so very, very strange: this ethereal creature with its glass-like green body and iridescent, glimmering wings climbs out of the plain-looking, slate-coloured, cockroach-like shell. There are even little threads, as if the dragonfly has been held inside the nymph form with a harness.

While watching this, I thought of its similarity to poetry with its ability to enrich the ordinary happenings of a human life with profound, transcendent meaning.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Jennifer Firestone : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

If the process begins to feel vapid, empty, in a way that’s not interesting or with promise, then I move on. It’s fairly intuitive, though I read/revise my work endlessly. I try not to be precious about the “perfect” poem. I don’t think poems are necessarily ever finished in their perpetually-thinking bodies. And maybe I at times just run out of steam or need to switch gears, though I would argue that it is also sometimes the reason to stay.

Kimberly Campanello : part two

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

As a teenager, my reading of Arthur Rimbaud and Walt Whitman shaped my sense of what it means to write poetry. Later on, H.D. (Trilogy), M NourbeSe Philip (Zong!), Thomas McGrath (Letter to an Imaginary Friend), Stein (Lifting Belly), and Aimé Césaire (Cahier d’un retour au pays natale) all had a big impact. I’m interested in poets who take on big projects or longer poems – poets who are in some sense visionaries in whatever mode they are working in. My thinking about this large-scale mode is continually renewed by poets with these ambitions, most recently by the work of Geraldine Monk (They Who Saw the Deep), James Byrne and Sandeep Parmar (Myth of the Savage Tribes, Myth of the Civilised Nations), and Denise Riley (A Part Song). I am really looking forward to the forthcoming book by Joyelle McSweeney, having read some of the poems in journals.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Juliette van der Molen : part two

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t? 

Poetry gives the reader space to be mindful. I often see poets as gardeners scattering seeds into the fertile soil of the mind. In some minds these seeds take root and grow, but they are always affected by the climate of the reader’s mind and the sum total of their personal experiences. For me, prose has always been a sort of ready made atmosphere that I slip into when I read. It can challenge me as a reader, but not in the same way that poetry does. Poetry requires me to consider the devices of the poet and to visualize in a way that fills in the spaces between line breaks. Poetry offers the reader a freedom to personalize the reading experience.