Saturday, 13 April 2019

Mark Antony Owen : coda

I’ll pose then answer two questions by way of a coda to this interview: ‘How did you develop your poetic forms?’ and ‘Why don’t you submit to journals/publishers or enter competitions?’

The answer to the first question is rather unimpressive – it was entirely arbitrary! I imposed some syllabic patterning on the first nine poems I plucked from a pile (all of which had been free from form previously), and nine forms duly emerged. I’ve been wedded to these, with a little variation, throughout all of my work ever since.

As to why I don’t submit my poems or go in for gongs, the answer’s two-fold. While I write poems that can, of course, be read in isolation from one another, I prefer to think of these as individual details on a large canvas; one that can only be properly apprehended once you step back. That stepping back reveals the construct behind Subruria. To submit single poems to journals or group various poems into traditional collections seems to me to dilute the concept lying back of my writing. When it comes to art competitions, I dislike the fact that these produce clear winners and losers – as though it’s simply a question of crossing some finish line ahead of others in your field. It’s meaningless to argue, beyond a certain quality threshold, as to whether or not one work of art is objectively ‘better’ than another of equal standing. If it were up to me, I’d recognise or commend all those on an award’s shortlist, but never declare an overall winner.

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