Posts Tagged ‘young writers’

Eavan Boland on inspiration, the writing process, and failure

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Cathedral Quarry, Langdale

“I have never been sympathetic to the idea of inspiration. [...] I always think of myself as working at a rock face. Ninety days out of ninety five, it’s just a rock face. The other five days, there’s a bit of silver, a bit of base metal in it. I’m reasonably consistent and the consistency is a help to me. It helps me stay in contact with my failure rate, and unless you have a failure rate that vastly exceeds your success rate, you’re not really in touch with what you are doing as a poet. The danger of inspiration is that it is a theory that redirects itself towards the idea of success rather than to the idea of consistent failure. And all poets need to have a sane and normalised relationship with their failure rate.”

– Eavan Boland, from Sleeping with Monsters: Conversations with Scottish and Irish women poets, Polygon, 1990.

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Featured poem: ‘My Granddad Buries King at Souter Lighthouse’, by Jake Campbell

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Souter Lighthouse

My Granddad Buries King at Souter Lighthouse

I can see him pulling
up at Souter. Beam
of the lighthouse scanning
the bonnet of his Escort Estate
as he opened the boot, lifted out
the rug-rolled corpse, delicate
as a pile of firewood.

Wellying the spade
into the grass, I imagine others
passing along Coast Road
after nightshifts
and engagements in car parks
will have seen him:
mosquito to England’s neckline.

The radio might have been on,
the passenger door ajar as ‘Golden Brown’
sprinkled out of the stereo.
Three feet down, he’ll have wiped
his brow with a shirt sleeve,
dug the spade in like a flag-pole,
lifted the corpse of King
into a pore
of earth.

Refilling the hole would have been
the easy part, the headstone
the problem. Rolling the rock
over the mud blemish, he must have cursed
the stupid mutt for dying

Back in his car, slipping the gearbox
into third as he growled up Lizard Lane,
the sun opening over the North Sea
like a tangerine, he’ll have begun singing:
‘Golden brown, texture like sun,
lays me down with my mind; he runs…’

Jake Campbell was born in South Shields in 1988. His debut pamphlet of poetry, Definitions of Distance, is due from Red Squirrel Press in May. Last year, he won the Andrew Waterhouse Award from New Writing North and graduated from the University of Chester with distinction for his Creative Writing MA. Having thus far avoided the ‘real world’ (whatever or wherever that is), he tries to present the semblance of being a professional writer in order to keep his parents off his back. Follow him trying to do that at: jakecampbell1988.blogspot.co.uk

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