Featured Poet Hayley Shields Interviewed!


You’ve seen Hayley’s poems (here and here) … now you can find out a bit more about her!

Tell us about your poems.
Hmmm… OK, this is hard to answer seriously, without feeling stupid! I write mostly in free verse, although I’m begining to experiment with stricter forms. My poems are quite reflective, and have been described as “twisted”. I write because I love the satisfaction of finishing a poem (and because if I don’t I may fail my Creative Writing MSc).

How long have you been writing?
I used to write stories when I was very very small, but the first poem I remember writing was a sonnet, when I had just turned 16, for an A-level English class. The embarassing experience of having this poem studied by the rest of the class meant that I didn’t write again seriously until my 3rd year of University, when I took a course in Creative Writing. So really I’d say I’ve only been writing for 2 years.

Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
I have been featured in one of the best magazines ever (!!), Read This - both in Issue 3 of the magazine, and on the website in September 2008. I was also chosen to be Editor’s Choice for an issue of Tontine, part of Edinburgh University’s Student newspaper. This was the high point of my poetic life so far.

What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
Being accepted on the University of Edinburgh’s Creative Writing MSc course.

What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
The best thing is the sense of achievement you get when you’ve finished writing a poem, after all the excitement you feel when you’re creating something new, and also something “you”. See…? That rhymed. Clearly I’m a poet.
(The worst thing has to be when you spend ages writing something, and it just doesn’t work.)

Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
Read Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled. The man is a legend. That book will tell you everything you need to know, and it’s hilarious. Other than that, just write, experiment with different forms and ideas, etc.

Who/what influences your poetry?
At the minute I’m working on a bit of a fairytale theme, so fairytales are influencing my poetry quite a bit. I’m a huge fan of Carol Ann Duffy, and Margaret Atwood, so they undoubtedly (even if it’s just subconsciously sometimes) influence my poetry.

What would you do, long after I’m gone,

Finding one sun-stroked strand
Of my hair, curling lazily
Among the whites of this book?

What would you do, long after I’m gone,

Catching my face, unchanged and real,
Caged in the wooden bars
Of someone else’s photo-frame?

What would you do, long after I’m gone,

Hearing the crackle of my unfinished voice
Pour from videos of times
We were still strangers?

What would you do, long after I’m gone,

Stumbling through my scent in the street
Would you pick up the trail,
or turn tail and run?
Would you…

What
would you do,
long after I’m gone?


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10 Responses to “Featured Poet Hayley Shields Interviewed!”

  1. Desmond Swords Says:

    Yes Shields:

    “The best thing is the sense of achievement you get when you’ve finished writing a poem…”

    You articulate instinctively, one of the four human joys a poet can experience, according to the touchstone text of bardic poetry written in the 7C Old Irish by an anonymous scribe and attributed to Amergin — Merlin if you like, of the Goidelic literary tradition. The poetic joy above appears in (what has no title but has become known as the Cauldron of Poesy) the text as human joy number three:

    “…the joy of the binding principle of wisdom after good (poetic) construction..”

    And the second joy you describe:

    “..the excitement you feel when you’re creating something new..”

    . appears in the most important text outlining the most comprehensive Poetic (as noun) of any tradition in Europe - as the final human joy number four, the:

    “..joy of fitting poetic frenzy from the grinding away at the fair nuts of the nine hazels on the Well of Segais in the Sìdhe realm.”

    This text explains what poetry is and how it works from the point of view of a 7C Irish poet, as close to the druidic mind as it is possible to get, and is a fascinating document, which has no title, because it didn’t need one, as it was the first text the trainee bardic poet at the first of their seven grades (fochloc - sapling, beginner) received on day one of their first semester at bard school, which began on Samhain (trans. summer’s end - Oct. 31) and ended six months later at Beltaine (May 1) on the sound of the first cuckoo hooting oin the woods these numerous schools were situated.

    It is found in Harleian manuscript 3.18, one of the Irish legal codices dated about 1500ce. The Harleian Library manuscript collection relates to Robert Harley, 1st earl of Oxford, and his son Edward, 2d earl of Oxford, who collected more than 7,000 volumes and 14,000 original legal documents, which was purchased for £10,000 in 1753 by the British government and with the collections of Sir Robert Bruce Cotton and Sir Hans Sloane formed the basis of the British Museum library.

    Manuscript 3.18 is now at Trinity College Dublin, with the identification tag of MS 1337 and this poem was first translated in 1983, which is the reason why this holy grail of poetry is unknown by the expert poets of today whose tradition goes back only to the Tudor poets who appropriated Graeco-Roman myth as their own because they thought their real myth was not classy enought, during that time of neuveau riche courtiers licking Copper Noses’s ass, trying to escape their humble backgrounds and re-invent themselves as posher than what they were.

    Like a person changing a richly layered provincial accent to a bland chep and gel magdalene college or trinner’ness many oxbro UK poets go for when pretending to be something they are not.

    The English translation by Ogham Alphabet scholar, Erynn Rowan Laurie, which garnered the name , the cauldron of poesy, due to the cauldron metaphors when desribing how poetry works within a person, i would advocate printing it off and having it as a very important poetic document, as the truth is, though currently unknown by most, it is actually the most relevant and important of any utterances on Poetics and the technical aspect of poetry, in the history of poetry.

    This is because it is the mind of a poet with 1000 yrs of poets ahead of him or her, and a thousand behind them, so not like the latest poet-wonder’s philosophy on how the influence of TV is supremely important in the tradition of filidecht - bardcraft, the purest of any verbal art to have exosted on these islands and which few know of now.

  2. Katja Nikula Says:

    amazing talent for someone who has only been writing for 2 years!

  3. One Night Stanzas » Blog Archive » Things I Love Thursday (er, Friday!) #36 Says:

    [...] Discovering new writing by my classmates! Going to Firbush gave me an opportunity to see some of the work that my fellow Creative Writers have been doing, in some cases for the first time. The poetry group is very small, and we don’t tend to see the prose writers or dramatists much at all. Therefore it was great to see some of their work, and to discover that many of them also write poetry. Check out The Interstellar Service by Paul Thomas, We Howl and The State of Us by Jo Swingler, Itch by Kate Charles and The Course of True Love by Shanaaz Bakshi (love this piece!). I also love Fall, by my good friend and former ONS Featured Poet, Hayley Shields. [...]

  4. One Night Stanzas » Blog Archive » Things I Love Thursday #38 Says:

    [...] which I really like, and also Crow and Phoenix (scroll down!). Dave was followed by the brilliant Ms Hayley Shields, who bravely read a long sestina, and kept the audience rapt (here she is getting freaked out by a [...]

  5. One Night Stanzas » Blog Archive » Things I Love Thursday #51 Says:

    [...] 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 [...]

  6. One Night Stanzas » Blog Archive » “Masters”, the latest chapbook from Read This Press, now available for pre-order! Says:

    [...] and Read This // Struan Robertson, Read This Magazine editor, metapoet, budding filmmaker // and Hayley Shields, previously published in Textualities and a reader at Blackwells 2008 Best of Scottish Writing [...]

  7. One Night Stanzas » Blog Archive » this collection’s FREE March McEwan Hall showcase Says:

    [...] reading at on Friday 26th from 7-9pm include: Tom Bristow Christine de Luca Hayley Shields Russell Jones Andrew C Fergusson Morgan Downie Anita John Andrew Philip Rob A Mackenzie Aileen [...]

  8. this collection’s FREE March McEwan Hall showcase! « this collection Says:

    [...] reading at on Friday 26th from 7-9pm include: Tom Bristow Christine de Luca Hayley Shields Russell Jones Andrew C Fergusson Morgan Downie Anita John Andrew Philip Rob A Mackenzie Aileen [...]

  9. this collection @ McEwan Hall « Website and blog of the Scottish poet Andrew Philip Says:

    [...] have a film of their poem. Other poets on that evening include: Tom Bristow, Christine de Luca,

  10. kredyty konsolidacyjne Says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my very first comment. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this web site very frequently.