What am I working on?
I like having a project of some sort on the go. I’m working in response to a series of short films by the visual artist Tim Ridley. I really enjoy collaborating with other art forms/artists and this is the first time I’ve worked with film. It’s good to try something new. Having some sort of project makes me feel quite purposeful, I suppose. I recently wrote a set of poems inspired by the Suffragettes* and I find having to keep to a theme can urge me on and I push myself further than I might do otherwise. Also, I’ve recently moved to Penzance in Cornwall and I’ve been writing a lot – not on any obvious theme (or not one that I can see emerging just yet), I’m not placing any restrictions on myself. The move’s been really good for my writing, it seems to have given me a lot of energy and I feel up for taking risks in my work, so I’m enjoying myself. I’m also in my final year of a creative writing PhD, teaching for the Poetry School and the OU, and mentoring several poets, so it’s important to keep my energy levels up.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Blimey, what a question. I think that’s for others to answer rather than me. I feel I write several different sorts of poems – every now and then I think ah that’s an x type of poem, that’s a y type. Do you know what I mean? And then sometimes a new type of poem appears, one that seems to have a different style or theme or subject matter – and I’m always intrigued by those. This makes me feel as though I might be shifting in some way. Moving on.
Why do I write what I do?
Ha! Sometimes I wish I knew. Last year I was writing quite dark, sometimes quite violent poems. I’m not saying what I’m writing now is light and fluffy, but it is a little different. It’s going to be interesting, well to me at least, to see how this new sense of place, culture and language filters down into my writing. But in terms of why do I write? Well, I feel out of sorts if I don’t, it’s quite physical…
How does my writing process work?
I’m pretty disciplined about writing. I write morning pages with a cup of tea first thing, I hardly ever write anything creative in them, I’m usually just clearing my head of junk. Then after breakfast, I sit at my desk most mornings. I’ll often start with reading a few pages of a collection, I’m currently reading Dylan Thomas’s Selected Poems, and then hope that something will spark in me, then I write. I usually write three drafts by hand, with a fountain pen, brown ink, stay with it as long as I can…then I go off and do something else. I try to leave that draft alone for at least a month, then I’ll type it up, redraft a few times, and if I think it’s got anything at all, I’ll share it with two poets I work with, and/or one of the poetry workshops I’ve joined in Cornwall. Once I have their feedback, I’ll put it aside for a while longer, then redraft and redraft. It takes a while…
* These poems, entitled Hooligans, will be published by Rack Press in 2015.
The three writers that I’ve nominated are:
Hannah Lowe is a poet and prose writer. She has published two pamphlets – The Hitcher (The Rialto 2011) and Rx (sine wave peak, 2013). Her first full collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) was shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize and the Aldeburgh Fenton best first collection. Her memoir Long Time, No See is forthcoming in 2014. She is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing.