Archive for August, 2009

This week’s Featured Poet Gareth Trew interviewed.

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Again, apologies to Gareth — and all of you — for the later-than-usual-ness of this post. I promise it was worth waiting for! Scroll down at the end for another sweet poem, too.

Tell us about your poems.
My poems are almost always very personal. They’re not always entirely true though – I often take my own experiences/feelings and alter or exaggerate them because it makes for a more interesting piece.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing on and off since childhood, but only very sporadically and without much direction. I really started writing seriously about a year ago.

Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
I have a few – I’ve had work accepted by, Spark Bright and 3 Lights Gallery.
I’d really like to get a pamphlet collection together over the next few months and have started throwing some ideas around, but it’s still early days. In the interim I just plan to keep writing and hopefully have a few more pieces published.
It’s also a goal of mine to become a more patient submitter. I have a terrible habit of sending off a group of poems, only to realise a few days later that one of them is not quite right – I must, must train myself to take more time!

What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
Is it incredible arse-kissery if I say being accepted as an ONS Featured Poet? Hopefully not if I explain myself properly. You see when I moved to London last year (I’m Australian), I was extremely uncertain about the quality of my work and had no one to whom I could go for feedback. Whilst having a hunt online one day I came across ONS, and after a few weeks, finally got up the gumption to send off some of my poems. They were (quite rightly) not accepted, but I received some lovely, extremely productive feedback and have been working solidly since.
So, being accepted as an ONS Featured Poet now feels like a bit of a milestone!

What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
It’s extremely unoriginal, I know, but the best thing about writing poetry for me is the feeling I get when I’ve finished editing a poem and I know that it’s “right” – the feeling of having created something worthwhile.
The worst thing is when I’ve finished editing a poem and I realise that, after all those hours of work, it’s terrible.

Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
Rather unoriginal again, I’m afraid, but I think it’s so important: read. Read diversely and also make sure you read actively, not just passively.
Also, whilst I think you should always be happy to accept critique, make sure you trust yourself as well – don’t let someone tell you how you should write or what you should write about just because they’ve got a lot of publications to their name or what have you; their word is not law. What makes poetry (and all other art, for that matter) so interesting is it’s incredible diversity,
Lastly, because laziness is very much a pet peeve of mine: be professional. I come across so many writers with enormous potential who can’t be bothered spell checking their work or taking the time to write a decent introductory e-mail – this type of behaviour makes you look amateur and will quite possibly put an editor off your work!

Who/what influences your poetry?
Erm, lets see: the many girls and guys I fancy; particular words that strike a chord; images that stick with me; feelings and experiences I can’t let go of.
As far as the “who” goes, I get a lot of inspiration from lesser-known poets that I come across online. A few of these are: Claire Askew (obviously not so lesser-known around these parts!), Rowena Knight and David Tait.


What a spell,
what a quiet charm is cast
by that little collection
of letters.

Just the sight
or sound of it;
the feel of it in my mouth
and on my tongue,

conjures up pictures
from childhood:
potions, poultices
and old, withered witches;

vast forests filled
with tree-dwelling elves –
the sun in their hair; their skin
as fair and strange as stars.

Years of life locked safely away
in two simple syllables.

Want to see your poems featured here? Drop me a line to!

(Photo by JanGlas)

Don’t forget The One Night Stanzas Store, my Etsy store, and their little sister, Edinburgh Vintage!

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Procrastination Station #51

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Better late than never — sorry!

A life in poetry: Roger McGough // I loved this interview with Fay Weldon // Poem of the week // Does Margaret Atwood write sci-fi?

How book covers are chosen.

Ever had a rejection as rude as this? I was quite shocked…

…but this little bit of rejection nostalgia was a bit more like it!

A great poem by Sharon Olds, posted by Swiss

Found online this week: Regina on rejection drama // Swiss’ favourite X Ray // Colin Will at qarrtsiluni // a new one from former Featured Poet Alex Williamson // & an interestingly-titled new work from Will Soule!

Negative comments on the net: bad karma!

Oh my goodness, I want to live here!

This is cool — but it should be the norm, not a one-off!

Cool graffiti: I was here and As seen in Rome, from The Wooster Collective

The stories behind 8 awesome album covers.

A sweet idea for a journal!

Scissor tattoos!

Some extreme clothing mod/crafting ideas! I’m plotting some cardigan-slashing myself…

I love the work of yeller-dandelion on deviantART.

& finally… more genius from Sammy Davis Jr. Check out his Louis Armstrong!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

(Photo by Bıtzı)

Don’t forget The One Night Stanzas Store, my Etsy store, and their little sister, Edinburgh Vintage!

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More from Featured Poet Gareth Trew

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

This is slightly late — apolgies to Gareth, I’ve had a mad weekend! Here’s another of Gareth’s poems — his interview will be up later. Normal service has now resumed!

An Evening Descent

The wind rips it from his fingers,
flings it through the railing,
then, thoughtlessly,
abandons it to gravity.

It drops gently,
this little gift,
this beacon
in the evening gloom.

Soon, though, the fall will end –
its burning will be blackened
by the cold concrete below.
Soon, yes;

but not yet.

First, a fierce and final flare;
a single-second explosion
that shatters the dark;
a shower of sparks
that catches my eye – and holds it –
long after darkness
reclaims its place,

after all that’s left
of the falling cigarette
is its lingering smell
of smoke.

Want to see your poems featured here? Drop me a line to!

(Photo by Timothy Fellsrow)

Don’t forget The One Night Stanzas Store, my Etsy store, and their little sister, Edinburgh Vintage!

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This week’s Featured Poet is Gareth Trew

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Gareth Trew is twenty-one years old and generally lives in a state of great confusion. He has been writing for most of his life, but only seriously for the past year; he currently has a few publications to his name. As well as creative writing, Gareth is also keenly interested in the performing arts, particularly acting. He is likewise an avid reader and can often be found with his nose in a book and a cup of tea in his hand — especially when he ought to be doing something more productive. If for some reason you’d like to contact Gareth, he can be reached via his highly imaginative e-mail address,

The Constant(ly) Desert(ed)

Pour warm water
into my poor, parched mouth.
Let it run along my tongue – leathery with longing –
then down my dusty throat;
down and down and down until
finally, it begins to fill me.

Oh! What a moan
the instrument would make!
I’d shake this blistered ground with gratitude;
I’d river the sand with tears of glee…

…but you, too,
lack even a thimbleful;
are only a madman’s mirage.

Want to see your poems featured here? Drop me a line to!

(Photo by HORIZON)

Don’t forget The One Night Stanzas Store, my Etsy store, and their little sister, Edinburgh Vintage!

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Things I Love Thursday #51

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Stuff I’ve loved this week… plus the answers to my movie quiz!

Gigging. This week I have been a total reading FIEND — and more through good luck than good management! On Monday night I read at The Forest Cafe, as part of the Bowery Book Club, a monthly reading organised by my mate Dave. I read alongside the great Hayley Shields and Chris Lindores, among others — and despite the slightly apathetic festival-season-audience (grrr), it was a good night!
Then yesterday I read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival — yes, really, there’s photographic evidence and everything! I was terrified, but had a good time in the end — I got to sit with Boy and my bestie Struan which made me feel better; I also got to see inside “the author’s yurt”! It’s an exclusive tent full of cushions and couches where all the famous writers go to drink coffee and escape their adoring hoardes. Sadly, the most exciting person I spotted was Stuart Kelly — Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman are obviously long gone. Shame!
My book fest event finished at 3.30pm, and within two hours I was onstage again, this time at Utter! I’ve read three gigs there now and it’s a brilliant event — running until Saturday 29th (I’m reading again then, too!), every night at 5.30pm, Fingers Piano Bar on Frederick Street. It’s totally free so if you’re in town, you have no decent excuse not to go! Last night I read with Rob A Mackenzie, Paula Varjack and Rapunzel Wizard. I was very curious to see what Rapunzel was like as I’d heard rave-reviews. He didn’t disappoint — he was absolutely hilarious and a great performer. Paula’s stuff was funny but also hard-hitting and really original, I loved her delivery. And Rob was his usual professional self, managing to link poems about everything from unusual deaths to nuclear submarines with panache! I was also chuffed to see the great John Clarke in the audience — check his stuff out if you don’t already know it, it’s brilliant.
Like I say, I’ll be back at Utter! for the last time this Saturday (29th) at 5.30pm, Fingers Piano Bar. I’ll also be at Underword on Saturday night, same venue, at 7.30pm — that’s also free, so for a night of brilliant poetry and a chance to hear yours truly, Fingers is the place to be!

Plans for the future. The future has been kind of scaring me a bit recently, I’ve been trying not to think about it, until the past couple of days when I’ve pulled myself together and started plotting again (I like plotting. If I don’t have a forward-plan I freak out. Maybe I’m secretly a Capricorn?). Amazingly, an idea for a novel came to me, fully-formed, a couple of nights ago. It’s something I’ve never thought I had the imagination/patience for, but now I’m thinking of giving it a try. I’ve also been banging on about this screenplay I’ve been wanting to write for ages — I haven’t written any drama since I was 18. I’m feeling the need to get away from poetry for a bit, have a break and write something else (because a total break from writing of any kind is out of the question!) for a while. Perhaps I’m just on burn-out because the past few weeks I’ve been working like mad to get my MSc Creative Writing porfolio in, and doing gig after gig after gig at readings all over the place? Who knows. I also want to start making zines — proper one-off types with small print-runs, not quite like Read This. & Read This Press may take a break for a while once it gets to its first birthday (January). I have two more books to produce before then, though, so watch this space! Exciting stuff…

Quizzes! OK, so last week I gave you a tricky movie quiz to do… it was on my Facebook as well and heaps of people tried their hand at it, with lots of interesting guesses! Some of you amazed me with your movie knowledge, though. So now I have another challenge for you — the musical version (which I think is a tad easier actually). If you want to see the movie quiz answers, click here & scroll down! Meanwhile, try your hand at this — see if you can get title and artist without cheating!

1. “You’re built like a car, you’ve got a hubcap diamond-star halo / you purr like a car, oh yeah…”

2. “There’s no light in the tunnel, no irons in the fire / come on up to the house.”

3. “He’s one who sings with his tongue on fire / and gargles dirt in the rat-race choir / bent out of shape from society’s pliers / he cares not to go up any higher / only drag you down into the hole that he’s in…”

4. “Cook me in your breakfast / put me on your plate / ’cause you know I taste great.”

5. “If your head says ‘forget it,’ but you’re heart’s still smoking / call me at the station, the lines are open…”

6. “I was brought up on a side street / learned how to love before I could eat.”

7. “I like to go just like the rest, I like my sugar sweet / but jumping queues and makin’ haste just aint my cup of meat.”

8. “Well you may be a lover, but you aint no dancer.”

9. “Grease me straight down, good electric / I could lay it on the road, mama, it aint no trick / talkin’ ’bout love…”

10. “You never miss a night / because your dream in life / is to be a footballer’s wife.”

11. “At the back of the roadhouse, they got some bungalows / they dance for the people who like to go down slow…”

12. “The drummers and jugglers of Montreal / don’t even exist at all / so I am tearing up these tarot cards and Venetian clowns / antique shops and alcoholic homosexuals…”

13. “Well my mama’s gonna call and say ‘where’s she gone?’ / and he’ll say ‘down the road with the radio on’.”

14. “You and I are under-dosed and we’re ready to fall / raised to be stupid, taught to be nothing at all.”

15. “Romeo was restless, he was ready to kill / jumped out the window ’cause he couldn’t sit still / Juliet was waiting with the safety net / she said ‘don’t bury me, ’cause I’m not dead yet’…”

You know where the comments box is!

(Photo by StaRdixa)

Don’t forget The One Night Stanzas Store, my Etsy store, and their little sister, Edinburgh Vintage!

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This (last!) week’s Featured Poet Sierra Skinner interviewed.

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

A bit late, but I have finally got on top of things and posted Sierra’s interview — apologies for the delay!

Tell us about your poems.
My poems usually occur to me, like remembering the lines of a song, before I begin the writing process. Whatever is most present in my thoughts usually becomes my subject - lovesickness, empty intersections at 6am, the moan of the sea, psychology. I enjoy painting as well as writing, and use a lot of color imagery in my literary work as a result, I suppose. My poems are usually abstract little bits of my own personal mythology.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was very young, I don’t remember the exact age but it was around nine or so. My first poem was in French, written on a paper snowflake as a project for school.

Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
My only other publication aside from this one was in Bolts of Silk (which is an absolutely fantastic blog!) I’m not sure whats next for my writing, keeping at it I guess.

What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
My biggest poetic achievement to date was probably meeting one of my best friends through poetry. She is from Sweden, we met on a Canadian poetry message board for youth (, great little site) four years ago, and she flew over here last fall for a conference the site was holding at the Toronto Public Library. She decided to come here and meet me since I couldn’t attend. She loved Newfoundland and our foggy city and everybody here so much that she decided to stay here. She is one the kindest, smartest, most interesting people I’ve ever met… her very presence warms hearts, and I think we are all better people for knowing her.

What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
The best thing about writing poetry is being able to see yourself and the world around you in such a dreamlike way. It comes from such a deep place, and seeing the words flow from your pen into something strange and beautiful that you didn’t know you contained is incredible. The worst is all the technical stuff that accompanies this… sort of drags you back down to earth.

Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
Read everything you can get your hands on! Reading poetry, in addition to being a very peaceful pastime, can help you see the evolution of poetry over time, help you find inspiration and influence, and may even help you with experimenting with format and structure. You may even find a great mentor. And don’t just stick with poetry either, there are so many wonderfully poetic books of prose out there.

Who/what influences your poetry?
My surroundings influence me, the things I love, the people I love. My biggest influences over the years have been beautiful Newfoundland oceans and forests, the sounds of wildlife, my friends crazy on drugs and life, short-circuiting brains, Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes, perpetual longing, people being disappointing and the bleakness that shrouds life sometimes.

First Light

light salted with translucent bullets of water
peers through the cracked wood,
the fractured, grimy glass.

this light is uninvited,
crashing my party,
peeking with miraze eyes
through dark plastic curtains,
cutting the brightness into
thin, gold beacons.

reflections of peppered flesh
and unraveling cotton;
the smudged fingerprints
like small, undiscovered

Want to see YOUR poems featured here? Drop me a line to!

(Photo by Idle Type)

Don’t forget The One Night Stanzas Store, my Etsy store, and their little sister, Edinburgh Vintage!

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Procrastination Station #50

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Link love this week…

Poster poems: aubades // Chavez: poetry’s saviour? // Sean O Brien’s life in books // Poem of the week: Emily Bronte // Knitting a poem // AL Kennedy at the Edinburgh Fringe // Exams in Literature: Quiz // Google stopped in their tracks… for now


I am officially in love with Patricia Young.

Project:transparence — when are you ready to submit?

A brief history of zines.

Nubby Twiglet’s ‘how do you market yourself as a designer?’ article is brilliant, and applicable to pretty much any creative/commercial endeavour.

A truly sweet book cover…

Like Jane Austen? You will LOVE this place!

Contrariwise / literary tattoos featured in Forbes! (shame about the ignorant and negative quote they ended the article on… I don’t know who Nigel Rees is, but I now know he’s a moron.)

This is a pretty bad idea, methinks!

Discover the ONS Poetry Bookstore!

Found online this week!: Colin Will and Regina C Green at a handful of stones // a new poem from former FP Juliet M Wilson // JoAnne McKay shares her London Poetry Festival photos // tattoo-themed poetry from reader Beth // new stuff from former FPs Morganne Couch and William Soule // & reader Col asks “do spiders have feet?

Amazing dark and sinister advertisements.

How to draw graffiti tags.

Dinosaur lanterns and amazing post-it notes! Want!

This is a great article on bullying, and how to stop it.

Loving these shadows & scars graffiti pieces… and massive light-shows, too!

A fashion shoot on Sesame Street?!

Amazing stuff the weather can do.

An original punk rock scrapbook.

Yes, it’s a bit late in the year, but if you’re looking for a vintage bathing suit, here’s a great guide!

Please note: I am not getting married, I am just nosy: 20s wedding // Vegas wedding // A fat girl’s wedding survival guide (I love @definatalie!)

Tattoos!: Awesome // Awesome // Awesome

I made these last weekend and they are freaking good!

My sister thinks this looks like me.

& finally — The Shining: a sweet romantic comedy. I’d see it!

Have a great weekend!

(Photo by Noel Kerns)

Don’t forget The One Night Stanzas Store, my Etsy store, and their little sister, Edinburgh Vintage!

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More from this week’s Featured Poet, Sierra Skinner

Friday, August 21st, 2009

You can see Sierra’s first poem, Immortal Sour, here. Interview tomorrow!

Expiry Date

lost, i lost them:

the cresent moons
poured from my pockets

like sour milk and
shuffled off soft into dawn

with silk satchels
on their tiny arms;

off to become resounding
in eyes other than mine.

Want to see your poems featured here? Drop me a line to!

(Photo by Rgdaniel)

Don’t forget The One Night Stanzas Store, my Etsy store, and their little sister, Edinburgh Vintage!

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Things I Love Thursday #50

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

50!!! Welcome to the fiftieth TiLT!

The One Night Stanzas Bookstore
The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that there’s a new link up there in the top-right-hand corner of the ONS homepage — the ONS Bookstore. I’ve been banging on at you all for the past year about how important it is to read published poetry and buy poetry books, but your response is always “but poetry books = huge expense!” I’m remedying this by setting up my own bookstore and offering poetry books in great condition, but with everything under a fiver, always! Right now there are a few collections and a whole load of really good literary journals up there — I’m still adding books and putting the finishing touches to it all but it’s now open for buying if you’re interested in anything! I’m aiming to get a really good selection of stuff for every taste, and more importantly every budget — expect a proper post and ‘unveiling’ very soon!

Discovering new movies.
Because Martyna — who’s a big movie nut — is living with us at the moment, we’re watching a LOT of films. This week I re-watched Factotum, which I saw and loved at the cinema (still amazing); saw Taken (A silly action movie, but a good one!); re-discovered The Matrix (and understood it a lot better second time around), and discovered brilliant German movie The Edukators, which is about a group of rather naive young anarchists who accidentally get into a lot of trouble. I also saw Milk for the first time and it is truly brilliant — Sean Penn more than deserved his Oscar, and I’m convinced this should have got Best Picture, too. I was expecting it to be very shiny, big-Hollywood-biopic style, but actually there was something very rought-around-the-edges about it, it felt like a very quiet movie. It also wasn’t overly dramatic or weepy, and all the performances were brilliant. I feel much better about the fact that James Franco is slated to play Ginsberg, for example. If you haven’t seen it yet… you definitely should!

My street.
Also because M is here, I’m spending a lot more time wandering around my neighbourhood as I have someone to walk and talk with! We have become Peckhams‘ most regular customers, scraping our pennies together every day to afford a cup of tea and a leisurely smoke (in M’s case) at one of their outside tables. We also spend far too much time (and money) in Caoba, the Mexican store — my fireplace is covered with these! And mooching around the Oxfam Music store on the hunt for some good literary vinyl is always a good way to spend half an hour or so…

My sister sent me this brilliant meme quiz which really stumped me, and I decided to make my own version to pass on to you. Basically, you pick 15 movies and then provide a quote from each. You guys have to guess which movies the quotes are from. How many can you get?

1. “You’d rather make a record with some Nazi-youth shoplifters than someone you know in your bitter and twisted little heart is a musical visionary!”
– said by Jack Black as Barry in High Fidelity

2. “It may be a joke to you, but it’s his nose. He can’t help having a hideous great hooter! And his poor little head, trembling under the weight of it!”
– said by Wilfred Brambell as ‘grandfather’ in the Beatles movie Hard Day’s Night

3. “You awake?”
“Guess you could call it that, my eyes are open.”
– said by Gina Davis and Susan Sarandon as Thelma and Louise

4. “In Jailhouse Rock Elvis was everything rockabilly’s about. I mean, he is rockabilly. Mean, surly, nasty, rude. In that movie he couldn’t give a fuck about nothing except rockin’ and rollin’, living fast, dying young and leaving a good-looking corpse.”
– said by Christian Slater as Clarence in True Romance

5. “I fail to see my family’s of any interest to you. I’ve absolutely no interest in yours. I dislike relatives in general and in particular mine.”
– said by Richard E Grant as Withnail in Withnail and I

6. “Don’t you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here.”
– said by Woody Allen as Alvy Singer in Annie Hall

7. “Do not drink too much. Do you hear me? I don’t want you passing out or going to the dark side. No going to the dark side!”
– said by Thomas Hayden Church as Jack in Sideways

8. “Valentines Day is a holiday invented by greetings card companies to make people feel like crap.”
– said by Jim Carrey as Joel Barrish in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

9. “It is exactly 11am. At the funfair, near the ghost train, the marshmallow twister is twisting. Meanwhile, on a bench in Villette Square, Felix Lerbier learns there are more links in his brain than atoms in the universe. Meanwhile, at the Sacred Heart, the nuns are practising their backhand. The temperature is 24°C, humidity 70%, atmospheric pressure 990 millibars.”
– said by the narrator in Amelie

10. “I don’t want to cram in sex or guns or car chases, you know… or characters, you know, learning profound life lessons or growing to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end, you know. I mean… the book isn’t like that, and life isn’t like that. You know, it just isn’t. And… I feel very strongly about this.”
– said by Nicholas Cage as Charlie Kaufmann in Adaptation

11. “This is so bad it’s almost good. This is so bad it’s gone past good and back to bad again.”
– said by Thora Birch and Scarlet Johansson as Enid and Rebecca in Ghost World

12. “Guys? Don’t stay in here all day. I took the batteries out of the carbon monoxide detector because it was beeping all night.”
– said by Jean Smart as Carol in Garden State

13. “Your fucking father went on a beaver diet.”
– said by Susan Sarandon as Kitty in Romance & Cigarettes

14. “Percussionist Foster Grant…”
– said by Tom Everett Scott as Guy the Drummer in That thing you do!

15. “Have I made myself clear?”
“As an unmuddied lake, Fred. As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer. You can rely on me, Fred.”
– said by Malcolm McDowell as Alex de Large in A Clockwork Orange

What are you loving this week?

marry me, originally uploaded by lifelovepaper.

This week’s Featured Poet Daniel Watkins interviewed.

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Tell us about your poems.
I’m going to make myself really unlikeable straight away by beginning with quoting Ernest Hemingway. He once said “my aim is to write down what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way” and that just about sums it up for me too. I’ll confess that sometimes when I read contemporary poetry I haven’t got the faintest idea what the poet’s actually talking about, and that’s influenced me to try and make what I write as accessible as possible, so that even people that don’t like poetry might glance at one of my poems and think “actually, that one’s alright”.

How long have you been writing?
I co-wrote a story about a silly sausage when I was four, if that counts.

Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
There’s Read This!, and that’s about all so far. The next stage is yet to reveal itself, but if I happen to ever write a line or come up with an image that makes someone think “yes! That is exactly what that’s like”, then that’d be a big box ticked in the creative checklist of my imagination.
Yes, I just answered a straightforward question with a weird metaphor. You’d never guess I wrote poems, would you…

What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
Through Read This! I had a poem featured in a newspaper in Edinburgh. Other than that, it’s probably the feeling you get when you read something in a workshop and everybody else there agrees about liking a particular bit of it – it’s always nice to hear that you got at least one part as right as it could be.

What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
The best thing is that it sorts out my head – whether I’m writing about a situation or a thought or a feeling, once it’s down on the paper (or the screen) then … I don’t know, I just feel like it’s been sorted, and it doesn’t need to confuse, frustrate or concern me anymore. Worst thing is probably when I have a brilliant idea that I just can’t turn into anything half-decent. I know that it should be this amazing, wonderful thing, but what I have in my head just won’t translate itself into real words. Argh.

Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
I’m a young, upcoming poet myself, but I’d probably just reiterate my first answer and say write as accessibly as you can – if what you’ve written can resonate with someone who doesn’t usually read poetry, while retaining appeal (even if it’s just an image or two, or an interesting structure) to someone who does, then you might be on to something…

My other tip is something I picked up from Sean O’Brien. It is, essentially, this - when you have written a poem and typed it up and printed it off, no matter whether you think it still needs a bit of work or think it’s all done, do this - leave it for a few weeks, then come back to it and write it out again by hand. Little things that you would never otherwise have noticed come leaping to your attention. Scribble the changes then write it out by hand again. Make any further changes that have become apparent, then write/type it up properly again. You’ll have a much more finished-feeling poem.
I was sceptical of this approach myself, to be honest, but I tried it out recently and it bloody well works! I am now using it for every poem. Sometimes it’s just an odd word or comma that’ll be changed, but sometimes that’s all a poem needs. Sometimes huge changes occur, and again it’s what the poem needs.
Hey, it worked for Andrew Motion - he does this for all his poems, and he became Laureate…

Who/what influences your poetry?
Well, in terms of what, it’s really just the everyday – stuff you might see, think about for a couple of seconds, then move on from. In that couple of seconds, I’ll probably scribble down a little note before I forget, and then later on I look back at it and see if it can become a poem. I explain it a bit better in my bio. For who, the best (well-known) poet who comes to mind is Matthew Sweeney, but if I’m honest, prose writers actually influence me more – mostly for their use of language. I find Cormac McCarthy’s style of writing incredibly powerful and poetic (if you haven’t read The Road, please, please, read it), and I also find myself influence by the likes of CS Lewis and Terry Pratchett, who both seem to have the knack of explaining something through metaphor using very straightforward, everyday language, but getting the essence of that thing absolutely, perfectly, that’s-exactly-how-that-is spot-on. Which brings us all the way back to the Hemingway quote. If I can try my best to live up to that aim, I’ll hopefully be on the right track.

Last morning

In the distant centre of my mind
I see it approaching
like headlights on the other
side of the road.

Routine, normality,
everything we got away from
for a few days
is rushing back,

waiting to wrap us up
like a worn-out towel.

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(Photo by seanmcgrath)

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