August 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Interview with Jon Stone by Daniel Lule
Jon’s Fuselit blog.
1. What was the first poem that you read?
Well it’s very hard to remember because I did read a lot of poems when I was young. But the first memorable poem that felt like a contemporary one would have been out of the Bloodaxe book a ‘New Poetry, studied at A Level was Glyn Maxwell’s ‘Love Made Yeah’ which I didn’t understand at all but still liked it.
2. When did you start writing poetry?
Not long after the Maxwell poem, as a teenager, but there was a second serious start in my third year at the University. I slowed down on writing prose and decided to focus on using the medium of poetry.
3. Did you want to be a poet or when did you know that you wanted to be?
I still don’t know whether I want to be, I have always wanted to be a writer. To write things, and at some point I started transitioning to feeling like the things i wanted to write about were best expressed in poetry. The idea of being a poet is slightly off putting in a way because it’s got the kind of connotations of being very wasteful, lying around and full of emotions and things like that. Or the negative stereotype is that you are just an academic who writes for other academics who wants to be mysterious and profound which am not attracted to.
4. What is your favourite form or mode of poetry: to read, write or perform?
I like all the three but writing is more kind of extreme. It can be something i really love doing sometimes or when am having difficult with it can be really something I hate. Reading is just pleasurable and performing is something am still training at, I started doing it only four years ago.
5. Did your education affect the way you write?
Most certainly, it’s really hard to say how but I don’t know how I’d have written if I was educated differently. It must have affected me in different ways which are hard to pin down.
6. Do you have any regrets as a writer?
7. How do you manage to support yourself so as to write?
I have a job as a court editor. I am teamed up with a stenographer who will be writing what people would be saying in court and I will be editing it in real time making everything is accurate. I like it because it’s technically self employed I get to chose what time I work. So that gives me freedom to write although it’s hard work. I also take on copy writing work small publications like sites something I intend to resort to for a living.
8. Which poets inspire you and influence your writing?
Loads of them but Glyn Maxwell is one of them because of his style of writing. W.N. Herbert is another who writes in a very modern voice at the same time as using old forms.
9. How do you think your writing has started since you started?
It has but hard to say how, I think I have got much less self conscious about sounding serious with what I write early on you tend to sound serious.
Again, I got much looser on that. I just managed to get a poem accepted in Poetry Review without submitting it yet. I have work published in various places, and it’s got to a stage where me and Kirsty run our publication. We do our own magazines and run a small press.
So it’s less of an issue if I failed to find someone to publish a piece of work, We have just enough audience to put it out to and give it a chance of being read. So am not worried about publishability essentially.
11. How do you see your work as different from other contemporary poets?
I am not alone in this but I don’t tend to stick to the same style or mainstream spectrum.
12. Is it fair to suggest that when poets find their voice on the spectrum and stick to that, they are playing safe?
I think there can be an element of that but I wouldn’t want to say all poets may be some poets. There is a sense of hitting the same ball at the same distance.
13. How have you approached your current project?
We have our press, under the editorship of Dr. Fulminare our mascot character. We came up with the idea of focussing on a subject rather than a poet. So we approach poets and say to them here is an idea would you like to contribute to it. Which they have, an example is the Birdbook which is meant to come out every year for four years. And different ideas at Sidekick Books are on the website. This way we can enter a new audience of people not in poetry but interested in a subject.
14. Is strong emotion needed to write a good poem?
No, I don’t think so. It’s one of the things you can write about.
15. At what point do you decide that a poem is finished?
It’s very difficult, sometimes I read it and say to myself it’s finished but most of the time it’s got to do with the deadline.
16. Your poem ‘1910’ starts like you were telling a story. Why is that?
I was trying to capture the idea of the character at that moment he was so famous. I had an idea of the shape of this poem in mind and was carrying it through.
I was fascinated with her at the time, I can’t remember how I found out about her but I did. I wanted to focus on such a character as Christina Lindberg who became famous of doing the kind of films she did.
18. What is poetry?
A basic tool that empowers response.
19. What is language?
if I could sit down for an hour I could come up with a perfect answer.
20. Is poetry a dying art?
No! It’s an inviting art.
21. Any advice for upcoming writers?
Keep writing. It’s not about status.