This week’s Featured Poet Gareth Trew interviewed.
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 ahandfulofstones.com, 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
Just the sight
or sound of it;
the feel of it in my mouth
and on my tongue,
conjures up pictures
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!