Today’s the day I provide my bit for the blog tour, so today's entry is longer than usual:
(1) What am I working on?
At the moment, I’m more involved in promotion than in actual writing (and how pretentious does that sound!). It’s not big time. I’m in five of the readings around Shropshire, to launch the Wenlock Poetry Festival anthology. In March I’m also talking to Wenlock shopkeepers, setting up a poetry trail for the festival which will feature at least thirty poems, spread around the town. I’m also, with Ian Lakin, preparing Condition Critical, a sequence of songs and poems about the Health Service, for its launch on April 11th., at the Priory Hall in Much Wenlock.
(2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Interesting question, which Jean Atkin and Jeff Phelps (both excellent, honest writers) found it hard to answer. I don’t. My work is often direct and colloquial, sometimes explicitly committed. Also, I have an interest in and affection for regular forms (sonnet, sestina, villanelle, rhymed couplets) which many poets don’t share. I skim through magazines and find very little which resembles what I write, and that’s one reason why I often publish it myself. Three booklets in the last three years, on Shropshire Stories, film and TV, and the coalition government.
(3) Why do I write what I do?
It’s a mixture, between “that’s how I have fun” and “just can’t help it.” I’m lucky, in that I write in a range of genres. Within poetry I write very different kinds of poem, sometimes responding to specific needs and opportunities. They poems vary enormously in depth and quality, but on average I write one a week. I get restless if I haven’t written anything for a bit, an addict waiting for his fix. When I’m writing a play, I often wake up in the morning, hearing two voices in my head, talking to each other, and that’s a buzz you can’t get any other way..
(4) How does my writing process work?
It varies a lot. I’m often sparked off by something in the news; I don’t think I could cope if The Guardian didn’t exist. Once I’ve started I tend to work fast, revise quickly, come back to it at regular intervals. With poems I usually start in longhand but soon move to the computer; with plays I’ll scribble notes but go to the pc to write actual dialogue. Younger writers won’t realise the massive difference that computers have made to redrafting, storing work, exchanging work for comments. I remember the tedious business of retyping whole pages to amend minor errors; some things do get better.
I did have three bloggers who were ready to take this on, but one of them has had to pull out. I’m grateful to Tom Bryson and Keith Chandler, whose contributions you’ll be able to read on March 10th.
Tom Bryson’s thrillers are available in print and as e-books. The latest is In it for the Money, about matchfixing. His website, and blog, are at tombrysonwriter.wordpress.com
Since being selected for Ten English Poets (Carcanet) in 1977, Keith Chandler’s poetry has been published in four collections: Kett’s Rebellion (Carcanet, 1982), A Passing Trade (OUP, 1991), A Different Kind of Smoke (Redbeck, 2001) and The English Civil War Part 2 (Peterloo Poets, 2009). His web-site address is keithchandlerpoet.com.