Featured Poet Amy Blakemore Interviewed
You’ve seen Amy’s poems… now find out a bit more about her life, work and creative process!
Tell us about your poems.
My poems are about being a hungry animal. I write free verse.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was fifteen. The joke I repeat everywhere (actually true) is that I read some Carol Ann Duffy for my GCSEs and thought it didn’t look at all hard. So basically, I began writing poetry out of spite. Bet you’ve never heard that one before!
Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
I’ve been published here and there. I was one of the winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year competition in both 2007 and 2008, so I was published in the winners anthologies and the poetry society website. My work has been in Rising, Pomegranate, Iota, Cadaverine and Young Writer magazine.
I’m being published in an anthology by Bloodaxe next year – that’s pretty next-stagey. I suppose I should really be thinking about a pamphlet or a chapbook or something, but I don’t want to rush myself.
What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
I was well pleased with being chosen for the Bloodaxe anthology. To be honest, though, it was probably writing something, sitting back, and thinking ‘yes, this is good, this has some worth’ for the first time.
What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
Damn. The worst thing is the frustration of thinking that no matter how much exposure you get, and no matter how good your work gets, it will always just be poetry, and for this reason you’re audience will probably always be limited. But I think you need to resign yourself to that, and write on. Writers’ block is up there, as well.
The best thing(s) are the people you meet. Mad, erudite people who you will love who write excellent things and help you write better things. You’re keeping something alive together. Then it’s the fact that you’re doing something that’s important. I’m making it sound like being a power ranger. It’s not, but writing poems is good and essential and should be done. It’s good to be part of that. Erm, so, writing poetry is the best part of writing poetry.
Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
The way you write is going to be different from the way everyone else writes, so don’t feel obliged to take advice from other writers. Not that you shouldn’t listen to it, just don’t feel you ought to be doing things the way she does, or he does. That’s my number one suggestion.
After that – always write things down. You think you’ll remember that awesome line that came to you when you were in the bath but you won’t. So carry a notebook. Read - if you feel like it. Find time to watch stupid TV and fall in love and that. Carpe diem. Don’t be too precious about your poems. They’re not a mineral resource. Let them go out and play.
Most importantly, feel free to discount above advice. But not this advice; read, and submit to, magazines and blogs. Enter contests. Don’t stop.
Who/what influences your poetry?
Pop culture, interesting newspaper headlines, natural disasters, violinists, boys, girls, drunks, New Cross, makeup counters, the river Thames and reading other peoples poetry. Specifically Yehuda Amichai, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, and the vast number of excellent young poets out there.
Death At A Party
I’d never met death before,
only been to two funerals,
(great grandmothers — you deal- - never knew them)
but there he was in that
disordered deck of lethal
where the hour-glass and garden
went to bed with japanned spades and aces and the queen
and the priestess dropped acid
with pictures of pikachu on the tabs.
Keeping to himself, in the corner.
Not grim, but without that historical gumless grin
and a six-pack of stella later
he was flickering like an admiring eye,
crusted green with photophores
and dancing, dancing, a skull in bug-eye shades with day-glo vertebrae,
flicking like the eye that cautiously admires,
bending hands around my shoulders –
making sure we all knew he was famous.
Be a Featured Poet: send a few poems to firstname.lastname@example.org… that simple!