Really happy to be tagged by Devin Madson in the current ‘writing process’ blog chain – if you like stories of vengeance in a Japanese-influenced setting then you’ll love her books, check ‘em out here and visit her blog here, to see her response to the process chain.
I also interviewed Devin on my fiction blog, where she talks about her work and her experiences with crowd-funding.
So, here are my responses, hope you enjoy!
Q. What am I working on?
I’m currently working on a haiku, haibun & senryu collection (working title: old stone) and tinkering with a follow-up to my last collection of free verse between giants. I’ve been obsessed with haiku now for a little over ten years – the form is just rife with possibility and I love the challenge of compressing language down to such a small amount of syllables.
In old stone I also want to include senryu and haibun and as travel is traditionally a big part of haibun, I’ve included a lot of work I wrote in Italy or soon after my trip there in 2011.
You can see me drafting cover art for old stone here if you’re curious.
Q. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Tough question. I’ve been told that my free verse background makes my haibun a little different and that my haiku background influences my free verse, so I hope that’s true!
In terms of my work and its place in the poetry world, I’m a proponent of being direct with my poetry. Writing is a communicative act, and I don’t like to put too many barriers between writer and reader. At the same time, I don’t want to be over prescriptive. There has to be room for the reader. It’s a fine line but I hope I walk it well.
Q. Why do I write what I do?
I think one of my main obsessions as a poet is with objects and places, with the meaning they take on for us. We instil so much of ourselves in them and for me, there’s no limit to where that can take me as a writer. The material never dries up.
Well, there is a limit, I guess, and that’s my execution from poem to poem.
Q. How does my writing process work?
I keep my eyes open. Wherever I am. There’s a certain amount of reflection that goes on before I write a poem, whether conscious or not. Sometimes a phrase comes to mind when I see something – like a wildflowers in a ditch – I had half a haiku as I drove by. The other half I finished when I got home that night.
Other times it’s a much longer process. Earlier this year I was walking to Collected Works in Melbourne and noticed that I was walking a lot faster than I would at home and the obvious thought came to me, that the city (any city) has its own pulse. It almost changes your blood. Everything is faster. Everyone needs to be somewhere quickly. Time felt shorter for me in that moment.
That poem I actually haven’t finished yet and I had that moment back in January.
After I get a first draft, usually completed at night, I leave the poem alone until at least the next day. Then I come back and refine. I might do this for days, or weeks. Sometimes, if I’m very lucky, the poem feels close to ready after draft two (generally only if it’s a short poem.)
Then I begin the long process of sending it out for publication – or post it here!
Q. Who will you meet next week?
I’m happy to send you to two fantastic Australian poets whom I count as friends. Both Robbie and Mark have supported my writing for years now and I’m hoping you’ll visit, check out their answers and their poetry!
Mark William Jackson