2020 series announcement

You’ve come to know, every year I do a theme series!

2017 Love Fest

2018 Advice Column

2019 Poet Interviews

 

and now here we are with

2020 – All the Feels Playlists!

Each month will cover a different aspect of love or love lost such as: break up, steamy desire, jealousy, and forever love. I’ll put together a playlist of about 7 songs that fit the theme.

Who hasn’t made a playlist as they’ve gone through a break up?!

I’d love to hear what type of playlists you are all looking forward to! Any suggestions are welcome!

 

Poet Interview Series Recap List

This Poet Interview Series was a huge, huge success! I am so thankful for all these talented poets for working with me and allowing all these readers into their creative minds!

Emily Jane Burton

Christopher Perry

Susi Bocks

Catarine Hancock

Shelby Eileen

Eeva Maria al-Khazaali

Robin Williams

Alice Fawn

Kate

10 Jupiter Grant

11 Paul Webb

12 Vontress Orteg

13 DeVonne White

14 Jason Yearick

15 Matthew

16 Jamey Boelhower

17 Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well

18 Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal

19 Cendrine Marrouat

20 David Ellis

 

and that’s a wrap for 2019!

Interview with Poet David Ellis – Installment 20

You all first heard from David a few day’s ago in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal interview so check back there for a full bio!

 

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer? 

Looking back both fondly and wistfully on my writing career so far, it is not so much a mistake, more the usual situation that I think a lot of writers feel, where if I had started writing sooner with more confidence in myself and my abilities, I would have made a great deal more progress, compared to where I am now. 

Having said all that however, you have to soak up your life experiences to make yourself a better, more polished and professional writer. So, by taking my time and developing my writing styles over the years, I have matured in ways that I would never had imagined, had I been writing as regularly as I do now than say twenty years ago, when I was originally just dabbling in composing song lyrics, which of course would eventually naturally evolve into the poetry that I write today. 

You must never be afraid to write or let that fear be instrumental in holding you back, when it comes to submitting your work for critical evaluation. It took me a long time to start a blog but I am so happy that I did eventually get round to it (thanks to the constant encouragement from my local Writer’s Circle) because of the freedom of creative expression that it allowed me to explore. 

Start a blog, develop a regular writing habit and make sure that you are willing to keep evolving and improving your writing, with the ultimate goal to constantly put out quality content for yourself to enjoy and if other people like it then that really is an excellent bonus! 

Treat all of your writing ‘mistakes’ as experiments that are completely necessary and vital for you to attempt, if you are ever to grow and thrive in your writing journey. 

 

What did it mean to you to have your poetry collection win an International Award? 

I was completely stunned and flabbergasted (I do really like that word). For me, it was unexpected, in that I doubted the popularity of my poetry, compared to other big players in the categories that I submitted for my debut poetry book. 

As it turns out, inspirational poetry is a common theme in my work to this very day and one of my greatest strengths. It turns out that Readers Favorite thought so too. 

To have received the Readers Favorite International Book Award 2016 (Silver) in the Inspirational Poetry Category was life affirming validation for me, it was like “Yes, you are good enough and people are starting to take notice – well done!” 

For me, it was a career defining moment, one of the happiest days of my life and one I will take with me to the grave! 

 

How does the process work of writing Poetic Duets with other poets? 

I haven’t done Poetic Duets in a while, since people are pretty shy about doing collaborations but I do remember how much fun it was and is to create them! Basically, I think the best way to write them is as follows. 

You come up with a theme/concept (or take a concept from your writing buddy). You then run with that concept and see if you can write three or four lines about that concept (it doesn’t matter which one of you goes first, if one of you has the ideas then let them go first!) 

From that point onwards, you then write a few lines and pass it back and forth to each other via email, until you are both satisfied that the poem is complete. 

What is so fascinating about the process itself is that you end up writing lines or being involved with lines that you yourself would never have thought to have written before because you are integrating with another individual with their own poetic perspective. I have also been very lucky to work with people that have allowed me to edit their lines for poetic flow and rhythm, so that the poem is written so seamlessly that often people used to ask me which one of us started the piece! 

I would have to say that as a poet who thrives on positive interaction with people, it is one of the most truly rewarding experiences that you can have when you mesh with another individual and create a piece of art together, there is nothing quite like it! 

 

How was it being a part of the podcast ‘The Writer’s Edge’? 

It was simply an amazing experience! Christie Stratos is a very professional and engaging host at ‘The Writer’s Edge’. Both Cendrine & I found the podcast to be a very smooth and rewarding experience for us all, it was like we were old friends having a fireside chat. We covered a lot of ground, along with giving some background information as to why we started the journal and how you can submit as an individual. I hope all of my interviews end up going this well in the future! 🙂 

Christie is also a writer, editor and entrepreneur and you can find out more about her projects over at www.christiestratos.com

 

Like his Facebook Page:- Toofulltowrite – The Creative Palace For Artists & Author Resources 

Follow him on Twitter:- @TooFullToWrite 

For Creativity Resources, Writing Advice, Guides, Author Interviews and Poetry, visit his website/blog at:- www.toofulltowrite.com 

 

Interview with Poet Cendrine Marrouat – Installment 19

Cendrine Marrouat was introduced in yesterday’s interview as co founder of Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal so I’d like to hop right into her interview now!

 

How has your writing changed over the years? 

This year, I decided to release the second edition of Five Years and Counting: A Journey into the Mind of Soul Poetry, a collection I had originally published in 2010. I had to re-read the entire book, but I did it as if I was one of my readers. 

The experience was very interesting. I noticed a sharp change in style. Of course, it has a lot to do with the fact that I am older and know what I want in life. The spirituality that animated my life is now fully part of me. 

Furthermore I write haiku, my favorite form, 90% of the time now. This shift has forced me to focus on conciseness and simpler language. I say more with fewer words, which is a great thing! 

 

Does your poetry and photography ever overlap? 

They do, yes! I photograph things as a poet. I look at the stories I can document and compose my shots accordingly. 

One of my books, When the Mind Travels: A Poetic Journey into Photography, is actually a mixed-media project featuring poetry and photography. 

 

Do you have a favorite collection of your own? 

What? Are you asking me to choose between my babies? 😉 

I love my latest books. Walks: A Collection of Haiku is a series that pays homage to my love of haiku and invites readers to enjoy the fleeting moments that make life beautiful… 

I released volumes 1 and 2 this year and would like to release two more volumes in 2020. It will depend on the time I have. 

 

Aside from Haiku, what’s another form you enjoy writing in? 

The poetry form I invented, which is based on the haiku. The Sixku (you pronounce it as ‘sis-ku’) is a six-word, untitled poem inspired by an image. Like the haiku, a reference to nature is encouraged, complete sentences and punctuation are optional. However, the past tense is allowed. 

The sixku has three lines: Line 1 = idea 1 (one or two word(s)) Line 2 = idea 2 (two or three words) Line 3 = twist, surprise (remaining word(s)) 

Sixku are a fun challenge, especially if you know how to write traditional haiku. 

More information about the sixku can be found on my blog: https://creativeramblings.com/sixku/

 

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Books: https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Books

Blog: https://creativeramblings.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cendrinemedia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cendrinephotography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cendrinemedia/ 

 

Interview with Poet Matthew – Installment 15

Today we chat with Matt from his Alternative Darkness blog where love, grief, and malice all intertwine to create insightful poems. Let’s dive into the dark now:

 

Has writing poems about death and grief been helpful in the healing process? Would you recommend writing to others grieving?

Well, I don’t write poems about death because I’m dealing with a healing process, at least not in that way. I’ve had people die in my life before like great grandparents and stuff like that and a friend I didn’t talk to much anymore that was hit by a Mo-ped pretty hard and killed on his birthday but that’s the farthest thing from the death in my writing. The reason death is such a big thing in my writing is because it’s a pretty big part of life.

Relationships, people, pets, emotions, friendships, places, and memories all die. A lot of them just waste away and some are accidents and some are killed whenever people feel destructive and hateful. A lot of what I write deals with these losses and sorrows that seethe into life every day. In a way I give my blood to my poems because that has been therapeutic, and I let myself and these different heartaches and rages topple and flow into my work. Everything I write about has made me feel a certain way and every subject has influenced me either first hand or through some medium.

As far as recommending others to find some sort of outlet for all the shit inside of them then yeah writing works and so do a lot of other things.  The only advice I can offer others who are looking for an outlet weather it’s constructive or destructive Is 1. To not hurt others or destroy other peoples possessions against their will (for example if your outlet happens to be, I don’t know, fighting only fight people that want to willingly partake like boxing or whatever but don’t beat on just whoever or whatever). And 2 That whatever you do should come naturally. You might have to practice it but you should have some naturally good inclination at whatever you do, but it should never feel forced.

If you try to force something you’re going to do it poorly and probably ruin your confidence and self-esteem. I see lot’s of writers who force what they do and honestly I find it a little insulting. What they write isn’t original or new or done in a very unique way which art should always be unique and not uniform. And that’s why I think print media is suffering now because of shitty books and other written materials in general. It’s such a high majority that it’s really suffocating the voices like yours and mine in literature, past and presently now, from making a helpful impact on anyone’s life. But, yes, people should have some sort of enjoyable and productive activity in their life weather grieving or not and writing or not.

 

You have a great poem that contrast elements like love and sinister details but they mold so well together, why do you think poems that compare contradicting elements work so well?

I think that there’s a duality with almost everything in life and many of these dualities are naturally contrasting. There’s no such thing as perfect love for example and the sinister details are sometimes there for different reasons. Sometimes there’s flaws in each individuals personality that can be abrasive to each other or work together, sometimes it’s the setting. It’s also a stylistic approach, the darkness and coldness is the actual love communicated back. I don’t want the love that I project, that feeling that one has for another individual to be any of that Jack and Diane bullshit, y’know. It’s not the perfect love story of the jock and cheerleader or whatever or the successful whatever and handsome to boot marrying the most perfect and beautiful woman and them having great perfect kids and go to church and everything is leave it to beaver.

I’m sure for some people it’s like that but for me to write that would be phony because I interpret love the way I write it, not like that. People are fucked up and sometimes people don’t reciprocate feelings, people stalk each other, they die and get sick, they disappoint and hurt each other’s feelings, they fuck up their chances with someone, they cheat, they aren’t successful, at least not the way our society expects success with money and all that shit, and they just enjoy memories together of walking places or conversations over cheap meals and coffee or whatever. And love doesen’t have to be all screwed like this but It can have darker elements and people can still work together as a couple and create something that’s darkly beautiful. But in short variety is the spice of life and when you contrast your experiences you make it that much more exciting. That works well with anything really not just writing.

 

You have some religious and political themes in your poetry, why is it important to have poetry that speaks to current issues in society?

Well, to follow from that last question to contrast this, I have heard people argue that being socially conscious is a real “cope out” as opposed to using your platform ( music in the case that I heard this individual referring to) to I guess talking about heavy metal fantasy worlds with dragons and nude women and macho bullshit or conversely weed, money, and whores. I think this is completely ludicrous and absurd. I’m not saying that’s bad to use your art on but for me looking on that its truly entertainment and nothing more, just amusement. It’s fun but when it’s all over you have trouble holding it close and dear to you if you have any kind of intelligence because it’s not relatable. It’s like the American dream or people that really love the lottery and daydream all day about winning. It’s like sticking your head up your ass. I think the logic there is that life is hard so lets go home and forget about all that and be taken away for awhile and be comfortably numb and a little ignorant.

But after all the fun the problems are still there and you’re left there sort of looking like an idiot because whilst there are artists and people speaking out and trying to make a change and talking about their past and how that has affected them and maybe many others to and how we can come together. There’s to much in life to want to stay out of it all the time and for me to say that is going a far way because Me of all people has hated a lot of moments in life but I still don’t tune out like some of these people. It’s an adventure. I think every artist no matter their craft I love today has influenced my work as well so I mean telling things they way they are and having someone say hey you’re right and deciding to share themselves is the circle of life of expression and creation so to speak.

 

Do you prefer to write in silence or do you have a writing soundtrack?

Yes I always write to music. I don’t have a soundtrack necessarily bus some of the artists I like to listen to are Deicide, The Cure, Seraphim Shock, Switchblade Symphony, Joy Division, Lorde, Skinny Puppy, Poison, Alice In Chains, Pantera, Danzig, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Type O Negative, Tiamat, Rollins Band, Bad Religion, Life of Agony, And Black Veil Brides.

 

Click here to check out Matt’s blog

Interview with Poet Jason Yearick -Installment 14

Today we meet up with poet Jason Yearick. He touches on so many diverse topics in his poetry, you must visit his website because I’m sure there will be something there each person can enjoy! Jason puts so much thought into every poem he creates, there are new layers you’ll notice after each read. Let’s get started!

 

You have some really creative and cool use of paper real estate in poems such as Matthew 14:30 and GSP poems, what extra elements do you think word placement adds to a poem?

It depends on the intention of the word placement. As with punctuation within a piece, word usage through placement, fonts, colors, letter grouping, etc. has to be something more than, “I think putting this word over here would look cool.” At least, that’s my approach. Otherwise, if one’s randomly placing words over the real estate of the paper then word placement probably isn’t adding anything beneficial to a piece.

I’m glad that you chose Matthew 14:30 and GPS since the two pieces have different intentions for their word placement and the elements that are added to each piece are different.

I used to perform spoken word poetry in Southern California and Matthew 14:30 is a piece that attempts to capture the performance of the piece if it were performed. Specifically, the spacing of letters and non-linear directions indicate the movement of the speaker and, hopefully, contribute to the visual aspect of the piece when read. Another critical aspect of the piece is that there probably aren’t very many people who are familiar with this Bible verse, so the word placement, character placement, and directional placement all contribute to not having to have read the verse but allow the reader to grasp what is taking place within this verse.

GPS is a more overt attempt to reveal some of the multi-layer meanings that I put into my poetry while accentuating contrasting ideas within the internal struggle of, “Who am I? What’s my purpose in life?” GPS was formatted to be read as one more than one piece and word placement was critical in achieving this goal. In GPS, the left-most justified words reflect this internal dialogue of the speaker questioning their life purpose. The further left the words are placed, the more grounded the thoughts are in the speaker’s mind. Those further to the right reflect stray thoughts during this questioning. Reading from top to bottom reveals, hopefully, these different thought patterns that can take place within the human mind concurrently with each thought pattern reflecting the weight of those thoughts.

 

What do you hope readers take away from reading your poetry?

That’s a tough question. When someone reads a piece of mine I want them to want to go back and read it again. I don’t want my poetry to be popcorn poetry that someone reads once and say’s, “That’s nice” and then never thinks about it again. I write across so many topics that my hope is that readers understand what I’m trying to communicate in my pieces. That’s where multi-layered themes can shine. Different people can walk away with different meanings from the same piece. This is why I love it when someone leaves a comment. Likes and follows are great and most appreciated. However, a comment can help me to become a better poet.

 

Why has it been important to you to write about your Faith?

The most important relationship to me in my life is my relationship with God. All of the work that I’ve done, everything that I am, comes from the Lord. My identity is rooted in my faith, so it’s important that I’m going to write about it. Most importantly though is that I let others know of what God has done in me and through me. I have been healed of so much in my life from heartache to an “incurable” physical illness. God has done so much for me that I want other people to know that He can do the same for them.

God has gotten a bad rap. I think a lot of people if they think about God, think about the people who profess to follow Him and what they’ve done, not done, said or not said. God is love and it’s important to me to let people know that there’s someone who knows all about them and loves them.

 

You have many subcategories in your Angst of Loving category, which is your favorite to write about and why?

Each subcategory is an element of love that I broke down into different aspects. Loss is the most beneficial and hopeful category for me. It’s not my favorite to write about but it probably contains the most healing. Loss is where I can find humility in relationships past and discover that it’s better to have lost then to have held onto something because it feels “good.” Loss allows for negative emotions to be healed and to help prevent me from making the same mistakes twice. Whether it be letting someone go or going myself. There’s a lot to be said for loss.

Interview with Poet DeVonne White – Installment 13

Today we welcome DeVonne White to the blog! We’ll explore how meditative and healing poetry can be! Poetry is an amazing way to express thoughts and work through struggles.  Let’s talk to DeVonne about how inspiring it is to write about her faith!

 

How has poetry strengthened your faith?

Most of the poetry I write is scripture driven. I’ll read a piece of scripture and as I meditate upon it, let it stir around in my heart and mind, a poem will make itself known. The great thing about that is I’m really taking my time with what the Word of God is saying. It has built my faith more than anything else I’ve done. More that a retreat, conference, even church. That personal time meditating on God’s word is truly faith-building.

2019 has been a very difficult year for my family, we lost both of our Dad’s within twelve weeks of one another. Mixed in with our own grief, we have been walking alongside our grieving mothers. Writing poetry, that stands on scripture, has truly brought peace to this restless mind of mine.

What is your favorite poem (or two) of yours?

My Most favorite lately is:

The Hope-Giver

He is the Hope Giver

The Hope Filler

Her Overflowing Hope

 

She hopes for what is unseen

Cupping her hands

Holding her cup close

She waits patiently

 

Drops of hope begin to fall

Her cup, once empty,

Fills with a living hope

Her eyes see, what was once unseen

 

The Hope Giver never stops pouring

Never stops filling

He fills her with His peace

His joy, His love

Her cup overflows

 

What is your daily writing routine?

I am a note taker. All through out the day I will think of words or phrases. I write them down or type a note in my phone. Then in the evening I sit with my laptop and start putting those notes together. Like piecing together a puzzle. I let that poem sit for a day or two, and then come back to it and edit. I must say, I enjoy the entire process and find myself restless when I’m not working on a project. I am happiest when creating.

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

I think it would have to be ‘Faithful’

I try my best to be faithful to the Lord and His calling on my life. That calling can look different each day. Somedays I am working on writing or storytelling projects. Other days, like recently, I’ve been caring for my Mom after a recent surgery and balancing my day job at an insurance agency.

I strive to be faithful in all things. Faithful to the Lord, to my husband, children our extended family and friends. I want to be that person who stands by her people, who is there and is present, in the big things and the small ones.

To connect with DeVonne, visit her:

Blog

Instagram

Facebook

Interview with Poet Vontress Ortega- Installment 12

I’d like to welcome Vontress Ortega as our next guest! Vontress is a four time published author with her newest “Tainted Soil” released just last month! Her collections touch on character development, self empowerment, love, and betrayal. Vontress is incredibly talented and relatable, I had a hard time putting down her Unveiled collection and I’m sure you’ll all feel the same way once you read this interview!

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What’s the creative idea behind having the titles at the end of the poems?

I felt that the title being at the bottom of the poem was more like a “ signature”
and the poems were letters to the readers.

‘Masquerade’ speaks so well to conforming to social norms, can you talk more about the inspiration behind that poem?

The inspiration behind the poem came from scrolling down my timeline. I have
seen so many people that I know personally change themselves to fit in with that
they THINK is going on in someone else’s life based on social media posts. We
like what we see and then begin to question ourselves so much that we start to
change so that we are out of the ordinary.

 

I think the Unveiled collection touched social media in relationships, how do you think they affect each other?

I do feel that social media is sometimes damaging to relationships that don’t
have solid foundations. They affect how we feel about ourselves and our peers. Because
in our minds we have been programmed to see only surface and not substance.

 

How would you describe ‘Unveiled’ in one sentence?

Shedding light on our broken pieces !

I would like to share the Non Profit organization that I am apart of. It is called Your Hearts Deziare. It is a Women’s Empowerment and Support group. We help women who have suffered from life’s traumas and help them build self confidence and work on their mental and emotional health through beauty, retreats and art expression.

 

To get in touch with Vontress visit her:

 blog

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 Amazon page

Interview with Poet Paul Webb – Installment 11

DDateable travels again!! This time we’re in Brazil with Paul Webb! Paul is a poet, translator, and English-language teacher, just to name a few! And quite an educated man, Webb holds a BA in Theology, a Master’s degree in Modern Languages and a Doctorate in Sociology. Naturally my first question will have to be about Language to a translator and teacher, so here we go!

 

Studying all the languages you have, how does language play a role in your poetry?

I would say that, at root, all my poems are about language. Poetry is about humanity and everything human is mediated by language. People say that the human brain is the most complex object in the universe. But language is more complex, because language is the product of billions of human brains working together throughout history.

When I moved to Brazil, I became keenly aware of the Englishness of English as a historically determined cultural, political and socio-economic artefact. I try to bring this out in my work: favoring Anglo-Saxon over Latinate lexis, using lots of phrasal verbs and grammatical and phonetic features that are characteristic of English and reflect its history of seafaring, free-market capitalism, industry and the like.

 

You mention various phases your poetry went through, which has produced your best work? (i.e French, Brazil, English / punk and rap)

I don’t really have the right to make that judgment for myself. I would say, however, that I feel more comfortable with my own voice now than I ever have done before. In the early phases, I was very dependent stylistically on certain masters: Francis Ponge, João Cabral, William Carlos Williams, and so forth. At other times my work was more exploratory, diffident, experimental. Now I always know exactly what I want as soon as I start a piece. That doesn’t mean it comes easily; I still have to craft. In fact, I tend to craft more, because I know now what I am working towards.

 

How has your life journey influenced your work?

As a general rule, I don’t write about myself or my life. I am interested in certain themes and follow these in my work. These themes necessarily derive in some measure from my experiences and the times in which I live. But I am not a confessional poet; nor does my work aim to reach out to people in a touchy-feely way. I can give two examples of these overarching themes rooted in issues that trouble me. One concerns the ambivalent nature of language itself. The way it simultaneously endows us with the great gift of being able to connect with other human beings and the world, yet also provides us with a set of tools that can equally well be applied to fostering exclusion and alienation and destroying the natural environment. This is perhaps explored most extensively in my series Thirty Sonnets on Autism, which was based on the experience of living with an autistic boy. In these poems, true closeness comes ironically from a denial of language, from a closing or shrugging off of neurologically typical language-bound human relations.

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The other theme is that of comfort and convenience as harbingers of self-destruction. The very facility of modern life contains the seeds of its own demise. The pursuit of happiness so often produces its opposite, especially in relationships. The theme is a pressing one in an age in which the pursuit off convenience and freedom from distress
is, in fact, ruining our mental health and poisoning our natural habitats. I first addressed this theme in an apocalyptic poem entitled Expurosis, in which the fires of the end of the world are described in terms of home and hearth and comforting warmth.

 

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

I wouldn’t write a book about my life because either it would be brutally honest and reflect badly on me or wholly dishonest and hence pointless. Besides, my life hasn’t been very interesting. There are far more important things to write about. My last selection of poems was entitled Fun and Suffering. That pretty much sums life up.

 

Is your work political?

Yes. My work has become more and more political over the years, although not in an overtly party-political or ideological way. I spent 25 years trying to write an idiosyncratic translation of Catullus Poem 64 .

When it finally came together, it was late 2016 and we had had the election of Trump and the Brexit referendum and I realized that, for a long time, I had been trying to write about the social forces that unleashed these results. Not that I support Trump or Brexit, but I hail from the ranks of the dispossessed working classes that do and I feel I understand why. Since then, it has become a mission to address these subjects, however painful. My next long poem series—17—was about a mass shooting.

 

What are your main aesthetic principles?

I have a very clear personal poetics, which is influenced in part by the principles that underpin the Dogme style of film-making. Like Dogme film-makers, I aim to avoid all artificial devices: rhyme schemes, formal rhythm, fancy language and the like. I try not to write anything in a poem that would sound out of place in everyday life. Poetry, for me, is about finding music and beauty in ordinary (even vulgar) language use, not about imposing an artificial or sentimentalized formal structure upon it.

If you want to see more of Paul’s work, head to his blog here

 

Interview with Poet Jupiter Grant- Installment 10

Today we travel across the pond to UK poet and blogger Jupiter Grant! Jupiter recently released her saucy debut collection “Poe-rotica” which I reviewed and we’ll talk about today! We learn much more about the depth and insight of the collection from this interview so let’s hop right into it.

 

A good chunk of your collection is written in rhyme schemes, what do you enjoy about rhyming?

The “sing-song” quality of rhyming poetry appeals to me. I like it’s rhythms and beats. When I have a rhyming couplet in my head, there’s a tempo that inevitably accompanies it, and I find myself tapping out the beats as I write. 

As I say in my introduction, I grew up with the work of an English poet called Pam Ayres. I don’t know whether she was ever well known outside of the UK, but she’s very famous here. Her poems were always in rhyme schemes, and they were always very funny. I recommend everyone look for clips of her reading her work. There are lots on YouTube and, for me, they still stand up decades later.

If you won the lottery, (or your book sold a million copies overnight!) what is the first thing you would do?

After jumping up and down excitedly, and possibly fainting from the shock, I would immediately hand in my notice at work, and buy a house or a flat overlooking the sea where I could spend all my time writing, reading and walking along the beach. My absolute dream location is the west coast of the UK, Cornwall or Devon, but I guess the Caribbean would be fine, too. 😉

 

There are some predominant english words such as ‘shag’ and ‘wanking’ as well as French words which i think adds another layer in the collection, how do you think language plays a role in poetry?

I think the beauty of colloquialisms is that they speak to the shared linguistic heritage of a group of people. For me as a reader, if I encounter a word, phrase, or reference that is perhaps peculiar to my own cultural and linguistic heritage, I feel like I’m sharing an in-joke with the author: in that moment, we “get” each other, we’re on the same page. To give an example, in a recent fiction I wrote there was a reference to “Ann Widdecombe”. She is a well known, indeed infamous, right-wing politician here in the UK. Had I changed it to “Margaret Thatcher” (which I had considered doing) more people would have understood the reference, but it would have seemed anachronistic and out-of-touch. As it was, the context of the sentence meant that a reader didn’t need to be familiar with Widdecombe’s name to understand the inference. 

Also, colloquialisms or foreign words and phrases can often capture an idea very effectively in a short word or phrase, where one might otherwise need a more “wordy” stanza to achieve the same effect, or can express a concept more poetically or sensually (e.g. soixante neuf). That’s a useful tool for any writer, I think. 

Though words like shag and wank are not commonplace in the US, I suspect that anyone who’s watched an Austin Powers film would still get the reference, so I didn’t feel concerned that using these terms would confuse or alienate a non-UK readership. And I like throwing a bit of that kind of Brit-speak in because it’s a reflection of how I talk, and I find that no matter what I’m writing, there’s usually a chunk of me in there somewhere.

 

There are some religious references such as Eden’s Garden and Christ-like which is an interesting juxtaposition to the collection’s theme, could you share a bit more about the thought process?

I have always been fascinated by the interplay of sex and religion. There are countless academic studies that explore the interconnectedness of the two. Sex and the mystico-religious experience are both associated with ecstasy, love, communion with a/ The beloved. If you read the works of many of the most well-known Christian mystics and saints, there is a very strong vein of sensuality and almost orgasmic intensity in their religious experiences. St Teresa of Avila is a perfect example, but there are countless others.

I think also that in the same way regional colloquialisms can enhance meaning in one’s writing, the language of religion also forms part of our shared nomenclature. As readers, regardless of whether we are believers within a religious tradition, most of us will still have at least a basic familiarity with the concepts of, for example, the garden of Eden, karma, Nirvana, a Bat- or Bar-Mitzvah, the hajj, etc. 

 

Where do you hope the future takes you, writing-wise?

I share the same dream as arguably every other author on the planet, which is to be able to write full-time. I don’t have any grand delusions of being the next JK Rowling or Danielle Steel. As long as I could earn just enough from writing to keep a roof over my head, keep enough basics in the cupboard, and keep the WiFi running, I’d be in seventh heaven. 

I’d like to have finished writing and editing my first novel by the end of 2019. I really enjoy blogging short fiction and poetry, and I fully intend to keep doing that. I’ve met such amazing, supportive and simply wonderful people through my blog, and I don’t know how I ever got along without them in my life!

 

What was the first song/album/artist you fell in love with?

I was an ABBA fan from the time I was a toddler. But the first artist and song that I remember being absolute obsessed with was Kate Bush and “Wuthering Heights”. My second cousin had the ’45, and my family couldn’t get me out the door while it was playing. In the end, she was somehow persuaded to give me the record, as well as her copy of “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer. (I’m sorry for nicking your records, J!). Thus began a life-long love affair with Kate Bush. I think she’s magical. 

 

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