Monday 26 May 2014

"My Writing Process"

Poet Dan Wyke invited me to follow him in answering these four questions about my writing process.

What are you working on?

I have a poetry collection in progress titled The Weather in Normal, addressing family, home/place, climate change and death. It builds on my pamphlet/chapbook, Homecoming (Dancing Girl, 2013). I also occasionally nurture the seeds of several other projects: a series of poems expressing grief over my mother's death, Grief's Alphabet; poems on the memorials at Bath Abbey and questions of commemoration and place; and an erasure of Esther Summerson's chapters in Dickens's Bleak House. One of the pleasures of these embryonic projects is that the poems' styles are wildly various, and I wonder if I can sustain that range throughout each project, especially Grief's Alphabet and the Bath Abbey poems.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I think it's highly unusual to have three books so wildly different from one another in style, especially one's first three books. I worry when someone likes one of my books and says she's going to buy another that she'll be disappointed in its difference. On the same principle, I'm delighted and relieved when I learn someone likes two or more of my works.

Why do you write what you do?

I have a choice? I write what engages me both intellectually and emotionally; I tend to take less pleasure from writing, art, etc. that seems to draw solely from the intellect or the emotions.

How does your writing process work?

It comes and goes. There are periods during which I'm writing regularly, periods in which I hardly write anything at all; the latter usually because of university commitments, especially marking, which seems to diminish my creativity. I don't understand writer's block--if I have time to write, there's always something and indeed usually some things I'm eager to grapple with in one form of writing or another.

A week from today, my poet-friends Zoe Brigley and Jackie Wills will answer these same questions on their blogs. 

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