POETRY NEWS ARTICLE
The following feature is an exact reproduction of the text of an interview I gave to the Winter 2001/2002 edition of Poetry News. I was. interviewed by questionnaire as set by reporter, Vera Di Campli who's questions appear in italics.
When and where were you born?
9th February 1962 in Manchester.
Can you tell us a bit about where you live and work?
I still live in Manchester and work as a warehouse operative for Fulfilment Logistics Ltd. In Shaw, Oldham.
When did you first join the Poetry Society?
What made you interested in poetry and why?
I've always been interested in creative writing, mostly science fiction. Many people at writing circles did poetry. (Prose tended to be too long for reading out sessions) so I started dabbling in poetry myself and was surprised by the results. I've always been a reader of poetry though. - I did a Lit/Phil Humanities degree at Bolton Institute in 1990.
Do you have any memories of writing poetry at school?
Very few, but I must have done as poems like Blake's 'Tyger' seem to have always been with me.
Which poem or poets would you recommend to other members?
Dylan Thomas's The Hunchback In The Park was the poem that made me realise poetry was something extraordinary. Hearing poems being read out loud grabs you more than reading stuff off the page when you're a newcomer. I'd recommend CDs or tapes of poets reading their work.
Have you ever been to a poetry performance / reading?
Yes, I go regularly to The Creatures Of The Night poetry slams on the last Friday of each month at Manchester's Green Room. And I catch any visiting poets I can at bookshops in the area.
Have you written and / or published any poems?
Yes, I have about thirty plus poems out and my first CD collection, Bard For Life is also now in circulation (limited edition).
Are you part of a poetry community?
I know lots of poets from events I go to and some online groups such as the Poetry Kit, which I thoroughly recommend at www.poetrykit.org No surviving family members are into poetry but one deceased uncle wrote several journals of it and my own reputation has led his widow to approach me about editing his work for a possible posthumous collection, but that is still a project in its infancy.
Which city do you think is the most poetic?
Manchester produces a lot of good humorous poets and a lot of anger from working class poets and there is a great poetry stream in the local gay 'Village' community who often perform at events I attend so Manchester is right up there with the best. We have tremendous diversity in styles and approaches among poets here.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
That I am an ex-member of an extremist religious cult. - I escaped from it in 1985. My own writing (as well as my pursuit of an academic degree) started off as a means of finding myself after undergoing intense brainwashing, and helps me to have an identity as someone other than the "bloke who was in that cult thing". I think it worked.
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