Many thanks to poet Benjamin Dodds for including me in the Writing Process Blog Tour. Ben is a wonderful poet, as well as being a very lovely guy! His first poetry collection Regulator was recently released, and I highly recommend it. It can be purchased online via Puncher & Wattmann, and you can read Ben’s own blog post on his writing process here.
To the questions!
What am I working on?
I’m working on getting together enough good quality poems to publish a chapbook by the end of the year. A chapbook is a mini book of poetry, and is a good first step for a newish poet like me. But I want to wait until I have enough poems which I’m really proud of before I publish.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’ve no idea. I’ve only been writing poetry for around two years, and the fact that I’m writing poetry at all surprises me! Although I studied English Literature at university, am a voracious reader, and have always written (prose), poetry was never something I thought I would write. It’s been a steep learning curve which has involved educating myself further about poetry, but essentially I write from my gut, relatively unaffected by what other poets are doing; which is probably a blessing and a curse! I think that compared to most contemporary poets, my writing is a bit earnest and uncool (but then, so am I)!
Why do I write what I do?
The short (and ungrammatical) answer is — because I can’t not! I think I’m drawn to write poetry because it deals with the big stuff — the stuff of the heart and the soul — and as I get older that’s what absorbs me. I’m not interested in fluffing around — I write because I need to write, and poetry is a distilled and powerful way of expressing oneself.
How does my writing process work?
I have to preface this by saying I have three children and work as a yoga teacher, so any writing process is very much fitted in around all of that. Also, poems are slippery suckers, and can be hard to conjure up at the best of times. It’s rare that I sit down and decide — I shall write a poem — and something of any worth comes out. Generally, I find that the subconscious works on the poem for me, and when it’s nearly ready to be ‘born’ I get a very strange feeling, almost visceral, like something pushing up from inside that needs to come out NOW! And if I can’t get pen to paper quickly enough, the poem will simply surface and then dissolve back into wherever it came from — forgotten forever!
Which isn’t to imply that the poem emerges fully formed — on the contrary, the first draft is (usually) a horror, a similitude of the poem that is waiting inside it to be unearthed. But in there it is, and if I can run off for even ten minutes and get that first draft down, I know that with many (many!) subsequent re-writings, the poem will gradually find its form and make itself heard.
Next on the Writing Process Blog Tour:
Stuart Barnes is a super talented poet, poetry editor at Tincture Journal, and co-poetry reader (along with yours truly) at the fabulous Verity La. You can hunt down his poetry in many online and print journals and anthologies, and read his answers to the writing process blog tour at his tumblr, spines, jackets, sleeves
Ashley Capes is a poet and teacher whose third poetry collection Between Giants is available through Ginninderra Press. You can visit his blog, Ashley capes: Poetry and Stuff, for insights into his writing process, and to read some of his truly lovely poetry.