This week’s Featured Poet Kerri Ni Dochartaigh interviewed.
You can see Kerri’s other poems here and here — you should also visit her blog to see more of her work! But in the meantime, you can find out a bit more about her creative process and inspiration — there’s also another poem below!
Tell us about your poems.
My work is a bit like what happens when a crow falls in love with a girl after reading her mind. It is a locked box with invalid mathematics, bubbles being blown in an ancient place. It is a hauntingly dark shadow show, maps that you cannot read and a sky that cannot see. My work is yellow and it holds a kite. It lives on brown paper. It wears a diadem and it plays the ukulele, softly.
How long have you been writing?
“She weeps for all that she has wanted to be, for the words that run around inside her all day long but simply cannot fly, for the aeroplane that her paper wants to become. The birthday girl weeps for her paper aeroplane. And at that very moment, she lifts up her pen. The birthday girl writes.”
This was the way I started my writing blog. I have a very deep memory that I just cannot shift of sitting in bed on my eighth birthday (just after Christmas) dying with the cold and holding a beautiful brown book of coloured writing paper my mum had found for me. I remember being close to tears at having so much that I wanted to put down on my pieces of paper and not knowing where to start. So I made paper aeroplanes and wrote on them. There are words inside of me, deep down; on the inside of inside of that wee girl I still am. I still want my words to become paper aeroplanes and so I started my writing blog on my 25th birthday. I just need to re-learn the art of origami . . .
Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
I have had my words published by nth position, dash literary journal, The secret attic, Lyrical Ballads, Cutthroat magazine, Birds on the line, Blackmail Press, The Glasgow Review, seventytwo words and fondly sincerely. I still feel a bit like a wee girl at Christmas that has just been given a beautiful yellow typewriter when I read the list of places that have placed my words on a screen or down on pieces of paper. The next stage is to put some poems together and have a little collection; I hope.
What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
I am going to have two pieces in Caketrain this year which kind of/sort of/maybe had me jumping around the room with excitement as it is a journal I really love and never thought I would ever have work in. There is an image of a horse in woolies on their site which makes life make more sense; somehow. I also see me starting my writing blog as a great achievement as I feel like it is my own wee box and I can fill it with all the words that I never dreamt I’d have the courage to make my own.
What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
The best part is the feeling that you are creating your own life; your history is held in the wee teeny moments and what they brought out in you through your words. Hand in hand with that comes the fear that you are dredging up the past in all its darkness, walking alone along a beach that is filled with your own sadness and loss. But that’s what it’s all about for me. I am trying my hardest to interpret my life and our world in all of their kaleidoscopic, scary and mind-blowing colors.
Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
I would say that the best thing I have learned is to write what you know is real. I remember a lecturer that I deeply admired reading one of my pieces and saying he wished that he could read the real piece. One that he knew was darker, more disjointed, rawer and harder to stomach. It’s only been in the last year that I have allowed the real pieces to come out. Sometimes that ache that you get from words that only you could have written reminds you why it is that you are doing it, after all.
Who/what influences your poetry?
“I live in a blue room. Outside of this room there are trees that are brown and green in colour. When I first began to inhabit this place the trees did not have any green. I have watched the green come here-day to day; without even feeling the need to count its dotted numerals. The magpies outside have a somewhat tumultuous love affair and there always seems to be seagull in transit. All of these facts and figures could be recorded on a blackboard that we share the room with but I fear it is up to something dark and these thoughts keep me from covering its surface area with markings. Sometimes pigeons die right in front of the castle but they are still beautiful.”
Or- pigeons, seagulls, magpies, crows, bluebirds (this particular section of the list continues in a similar vein), trees, wolves, the seasons, time, water, an island I know, love, darkness, the ones I love, a certain castle, loss, grieving, identity, ee cummings, mathematics, Virgil, waves, Miranda July, colours, Wallace Stevens, secrets, Dorothy Parker, shadows, Arundhati Roy, histories, Dave Eggers, ornithology, Robert Frost, Sophocles. Mostly my poetry happens when learning to climb trees, though.
lists of collective nouns for birds
the crow watches her with a suspicion that does not acknowledge boundaries. in his mind he plays out
scenes in which they marry, he sings to her and then feeds her to the sparrows. He views her as
a threat to his kingdom; he holds her as close as a bird must hold their enemies in days such as these ones.
he lip reads her unspoken thoughts and is momentarily scared by their shared daydreams;
this girl must be kept within a very tight rein.
Want to see your poems featured here? Drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org!