Poet Interviews

Interview with Timothy Mbombo

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When did you start writing?
 
I started writing fully in 2012. But before then, I had scribbled a few poems and two manuscripts which are still to be revisited.
 
Who are your biggest inspirations/your biggest writers?
 
Many writers have inspired me. More continue to do so. Some of the writers who readily come to mind are Chinua Achebe, Can Temba, Buchi Emecheta, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Dennis Brutus, Ola Rotimi, Doris Lessing, Cyprian Ekwensi, Linus Asong, John Nkemngong, Ayi Kwei Armah, Thomas Hardy, William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Geoffrey Chaucer, Richard Wright, Edgar Alan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
 
What time of day do you do most of your writing?
 
Even though I usually do not have a specific time to write, experience and records show that I do most of my writing early in the morning and late at night when I am all by myself. I am usually inspired when writing in my library.
 
Why do you write?
 
There are many reasons that keep my ink flowing. Besides the joy of it, I like the world or a wider audience to feel the way I do and to be influenced by my ideas. I like as many people as possible to see things the way I see them and to share in some of life’s ups and downs as experienced by my characters. Though my stories are richly entertaining, most of them carry the dystopian tone, which, according to me, is just the reality of life. I therefore write to entertain, philosophize, and teach the world.
 
 For example, in my latest novel The Last Bush Faller, I focused on wanton immigration of Africans to America or the West in general. My intention in this novel is to paint the true gloomy picture of what Africans in the Diaspora do to eke out a living. I think that the mass exodus of young and talented Africans to the West in quest of “manna” is illusory. With some focus, hard work, and commitment back in Africa these dreamers, who only think the pasture is greener on the Other Side, can make it too. This will safe them the heartaches of debts they accrued to cross over, the mean and multiple jobs they do to survive, and the falsehood they relay to others in Africa to maintain a certain echelon and aura.
 
In Natasha, My Love I took on the doctrine of free will and destiny; arguing that even when we cross our T’s and dot our I’s, misfortune will still be lurking around. Even Shakespeare contends that “as flies to wanton boys are we to the gods.” The gods play around with us as heartless schoolboys incapacitate insects.
 
Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?
 
I have a bunch of favorite quotes from writers. Some of these quotes serve as background or premise to my works. Some of the quotes that readily come to mind are: “Happiness was an occasional episode in the drama of pain” by Thomas Hardy, “Call no man hardy until the day he carries his happiness down to the grave in peace” by Sophocles, “For whom is it well? For whom is it well?” by Chinua Achebe, “Life moves on” by Robert Frost, “Joy has a slender body that breaks too soon” by Ola Rotimi, “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans” by Thomas la Mance, “Some of the worst things that happened to me never happened” by Mark Twain, “Man is a little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth” by Jonathan Swift, “Woman is man’s ruin” by Geoffrey Chaucer, and “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people” by Thomas Mann.
 
What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?
 
I would tell them to keep writing, and writing, and writing because perfection, fame, and maybe fortune come with constant writing.
 
Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?
 
Some of my novels that could be purchased at Amazon and other outlets are Till Date Do Us Part, Natasha, My Love, and my most recent novel: The Last Bush Faller. I have just reduced the price of The Last Bush Faller so as to attract a wider readership. I remember when Achebe was asked which of his books did he like most; he replied that it would be sheer invidiousness for a father to classify his children in order of importance. However, Achebe pointed out that the book he would be caught reading most often is Arrow of God. I think the novel I will be caught leafing through again and again is The Last Bush Faller.
 
Since the ink of my pen is so eager to flow, my audience should be expecting to hear from me soon!

 

Interview with Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Interview with Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

 

 

Q: When did you start writing?

A:  My first published poem was when I was ten.  A horrible little piece about my teacher for the school competition that I had to keep reciting for people until I forgot it.  I remember being SO nervous…probably has a bit to do with my social anxiety disorder now.  But as for any real writing attempts they came much later in my late teens and on.  Still clumsy fumblings of course, but it is hardly ever a pretty process I should imagine. Probably quite the horror show when viewed from the outside, but boy do we like to stew in our own dark little cocoons.  I’m 38 now, so mine has been going on for quite some time.  No butterflies at the end.  Just the magic of some half decent words with any luck.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?

A: I don’t know about inspirations, but I do have many favourite writers: Kafka, Fante, Orwell, Hamsun, Joyce, and Dostoevsky in terms of prose and novels.  When it comes to poetry: Richard Brautigan, Leonard Cohen, Bukowski, William Blake, early Ginsberg, Al Purdy, E.E Cummings, Siegfried Sassoon, Auden, etc. Basho is fantastic for economy of verse.  I’m normally not a fan of haiku, but Basho is amazing!  I also enjoy Roald Dahl stories very much.

Ben John Smith out of Melbourne, Australia is the best modern writer out there today in my opinion.  I also enjoy the work of Rich Wink and Wayne F. Burke and Steven Storrie among others.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A:  I used to write at night.  I would start about 8 in the pm and go until about 3 in the morning.  Then I would make dinner, eat, and go to bed.  Now I write during the day whenever I can.  Life gets in the way as it does for all of us but I was diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder (among other things) so the medications I have to take throughout the day at specific times ensure that I have to stick to a more normal schedule than I used to.  Still, writing is more of a compulsion for me than anything else, so whatever is going on in my life I always seem to find time to write even when it seems I don’t have it.  I’m often reminded of Monet standing over his dying wife’s deathbed and studying the colour gradations of death so he could paint it later rather than mourning properly.  Not that I am Monet or anything, but it really does become that kind of self-absorbed sickness.  Writing is a selfish thing to do.  Outside of it, I try to be a better person when I can.


Q:  Why do you write?

A:  Like I said, writing is a compulsion for me…a sickness of sorts.  I believe they call it Hypergraphia.  I write all over everything: mirrors, old newspapers, oatmeal packets, envelopes, the computer, yellow sticky notes…whatever.  I know others write as a form of therapy and others still for enjoyment but it is just a compulsion for me; a repetitive mechanism more than anything.  I remember when writing used to make me happy, that feeling you would get, that great swelling inside when you knew you had done good – better than any drug in existence!  But I don’t feel that anymore.  I feel good for those that do.  If writing is therapeutic in some way or makes you happy than do that.  It is good to be happy.  There is much too much of the other in the world.


Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?

A: Plenty:

“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”  – Ray Bradbury

“The earth laughs in flowers” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Reduce intellectual and emotional noise until you arrive at the silence of yourself, and listen to it.” – Richard Brautigan

“All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name” – Andre Breton

The summit sings what is being spoken in the depths” – Tristan Tzara

“Even when we sleep we watch over one another” – Paul Eluard

“Some people never go crazy.  What truly horrible lives they must lead.” – Charles Bukowski

“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations” – Ray Bradbury

“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings…Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting” – John Updike


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A:  You will most assuredly begin with some form of mimicry based on what you have read and how you have come to it but you must find your own voice and be uncompromising in that voice.  Also, do not be so worried about what others will think.  Write fiercely and with a brutal honesty that will lose you friends and put strains on your personal and familial relationships.  Lastly, never forgot to inject your work with humour.  You either laugh at the joke or you become the joke…I choose to laugh.


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: I do.  If you are interested in checking out some of my work you can find it at the usual haunts: Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, Barnes and Noble etc., as well as at lulu.com or from many of the individual publishers directly.  The easiest way is probably from my personal website: http:// ryanquinnflanagan.yolasite. com/

Interview with Matt Duggan

Interview with Matt Duggan


When did you start writing?

 

I started writing around the age of 13 and started submitting to journals when I was 21 the first poems I had published were in Decanto, Carillon, Poetry Express, Chimera, Connections. The editor of Connections Jeanne Conn was wonderful at giving me advice with hand written acceptance letters, as then the only way to submit to magazines was via snailmail.

 


Who are your biggest inspirations/favourite writers?

 

I suppose who inspired me was a dear friend of mine, she inspired me to play with form and imagery and to write about experience and the imagination, it’s a shame as she died many years ago now and never got to see any of my poems being published. I’m sure she would have been most proud of me now. Favourite writers range from Auden, Rimbaud, Pound, Henri, Coleridge, Garcia Lorca, Tony Harrison, Weldon Kees, Simon Armitage, Brendan Kennelly, Pablo Neruda, Verlaine, and so many more. 

 


What time of day do you do most of your writing?

 

It all depends really, but a lot of the time I write in the early hours usually between 3 – 5am

 


Why do you write?

 

I write for several reasons sometimes because I think certain subjects need to be addressed, and nobody seems to be writing anything on these themes, highlighting important issues like politics, media, propaganda, periods of history that have been forgotten. Sometimes I like to write about travel, and the more personal aspects in my life like love and experience.           

 

  


Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard” Allen Ginsberg

“Style is to forget all styles” Jules Renard

“To defend what you’ve written is a sign that you are alive” William Zinsser

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one is the master” Hemingway

 


What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

 

I’d say support artists/poets and read and buy as many books as possible and never give up, no matter how many rejections you receive. Rejections for me inspire me even more, that one day that editor will take something from me in the end. Plus, never be intimidated by others this is only a sign of their weakness and envy that they want to undermine you in some childish way.   

 


Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

 

Yes I do I won the prestigious Erbacce Prize for Poetry last year from 5,000 other poets with my first full collection Dystopia 38.10, which was published at the beginning of this year, the book has received many ***** reviews in poetry journals. You can pick up a signed here

http://erbacce-press.webeden. co.uk/#/matt-duggan/4590351997

Plus this year I have promoted the book with many invitations to read with book launches in Cheltenham, Cirencester, Bristol, Middlesbrough, London, I was also asked to read my work in Greece recently, and have also been invited to read at the Poetry on the Lake Festival in Italy at the beginning of October. I have a few more invitations coming up later on this year in Newport and Swansea, and I’m also working on my next collection of poems which should be finished by the end of next year.      
 


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Born 1971, Bristol, U.K. 

Matt Duggan won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry in 2015 with his first full collection  Dystopia 38.10. His poems have been published worldwide in magazines such as Prole, The Journal, The Seventh Quarry, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Carillon, Harbinger Asylum, Apogee Magazine, A New Ulster, The Dawntreader, Illumen, Page and Spine, Lunar Poetry Magazine…
Matt also runs his own poetry evenings which started with ‘An Evening of Spoken Indulgence at Hydra Bookshop from 2013 -2015, and Page and Performance 2015 -2017. Also this year Matt was offered the position as one of six members at Erbacce Press, where he helps and supports new poets to the press.   

Interview with Sarah NorthWood

Interview with Sarah NorthWood


 

 

Q: When did you start writing?

A: Apart from stories in school, I started writing a little over 2 years ago. Although looking back I had always used writing as a therapeutic outlet.  Writing with intent started one morning, I was frustrated finding myself redundant and unable to find a job that would fit my work/life balance. The kids were kicking up a fuss, you can imagine the scene, one of those mornings? I sat down and a poem came bursting out. I’ve never looked back. Now I have published a children’s poem book, a romance novel and escaping shortly is The Volunteer, a Horror Novella. As well as this I’ve written a couple of hundred poems that I’m proud of!


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: I was and am an uneducated literary individual. Not one of those who could point to a famous poet and say, yes its them, they inspire me. I loved to read children’s books, all the obvious, Enid Blyton, AA Milne and Road Dahl when I was younger. My tastes these days are darker and I prefer psychological stories and emotive ones. As for poets I’m constantly inspired by my fellow poets from the website All poetry as well as the wonderful facebook groups I am in. I read obsessively and watch a huge amount of films and series. A big influence for me in terms of Poetry writing comes musically as I also like to write songs and lyrics. Some of the finest poems are in fact songs.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: I would say it is not so much a time of a day as a space in my head. Late at night, when my brain is trying to process the thoughts from the day is often productive. I do have to sit down at other times and force myself to write to fit in with family life and working part time. Sometimes I prefer total isolation, quite often in fact and other times I like to be surrounded by family. I’ll often find a tune and lyrics come to me when I’m not thinking about them, and I’m doing something routine. Hoovering is a favourite for this! I think perhaps it’s my minds way of telling me I don’t like housework..


Q:  Why do you write?

A: I write primarily for myself. It satisfies a creative need I’d been searching for all my life. Until I put pen to paper I didn’t realise that it would be writing, now I can’t imagine it being anything else. A lot of things held me back earlier in life, lack of confidence the most obvious one. As I can’t sing and I am not artistically inclined I could never find that thing, I guess sometimes you have to wait until later in life to realise your dreams. Writing poetry conveys and captures so many different things, it is a way to deal with emotions, capture a memory, or find out what you are thinking. It’s a tool to create something positive out of a bad situation and a place to take you where only dreams can go. I love it!


Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?

A: Yes and far too many too write here. One recent one is almost a motto rather than a quote, “the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves.” I’m making this my mission statement.


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

Not everyone can be as lucky as I am and are able to write freely and have the time available to them. I’m not sure I can stick to just one, but as a bit of general advice I’ll try! Write with freedom and confidence, push deeper and further than you think you can, experiment but most of all write what drives you, your passions will keep you going when times get rough.

Interview With Valeri Beers



Q: When did you start writing?

A: In grade school I wrote a couple short stories and in high school I was in a creative writing class and discovered poetry. I have been writing ever since.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?

A: My favorite writers are Erica Jong, Nicholson Baker, Dorothy Parker, Stephen King and Chuck Palahniuk.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: Anytime I am inspired. I keep a little notebook in my purse. I have a notepad app on my Droid.


Q: Why do you write?

A: Because I want to remember and “do something” with my words and experiences


Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?

A: Probably the quotes that say you CAN write.


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Keep writing!


my poetry book  …details… is on Amazon 🙂
e-book & in print 🙂
http://www.amazon.com/details- Valeri-Beers-ebook/dp/ B00NC90K24

 

Check out my poetry website 🙂

www.wordsoftheval2000. wordpress,com

Interview With Nsah Mala

 

20160919_154733.jpgInterview With Nsah Mala

Q: When did you start writing?

A: There is a peculiar thing about me as a writer; I began writing at a very tender age, barely 16 years old. That was in second grade (form two) in secondary school, precisely at Government Secondary School (GSS) Mbesa, in Cameroon, my native country. When I passed from second into third grade, I wrote my first play entitled Taku.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: There are many writers who inspire or influence me, but I would like to cite just some of them here. They include Anne Tanyi-Tang (whose collection of plays Ewa and Other Plays we studied in second grade and it inspired me to write my first play Taku); William Blake (whose poems I discovered in high school); Nol Alembong; Ekpe Inyang; Jared Angira; John Pepper Clark; Chinua Achebe; Salman Rushdie; Timothy Keyeke; Babila Mutia; Mathew Takwi and John Ngong Kum Ngong, among others.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: I generally do not have a specific hour of the day when I write, perhaps because I do so many things at a time (teaching, studying, research, coaching, religious commitments, writing, etc.). In addition, muses never announce when they will visit me, so when they come I try to write down what they brought as fast as possible. But sometimes, an inspiration from them stays with me for a very long time before I finally commit it to paper, or I should I say to my computer screen? Suffice to say I write spontaneously!


Q:  Why do you write?

A: I write to influence the world positively. I write to right the wrongs of society, to put literature and art at the positive and divine service of humanity and the universe. That is why Dr Yvonne Ngwa has referred to me as an “End Time Literary Prophet” (ETLP), an appellation which I adore! I write because I do not want to leave the world the same negative way as I came and met it or as it is turning in my presence. And I must say it ALOUD here that I do not write to make money. Money can come later, but my writing must come first. Let me refer you here to two other interviews where I have made this point about my writing career and money quite clear. I said so to Charles Tembei of the Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) when he interviewed me early this year for his radio programme Literary Half Hour. I said same to Pascal Ango in a French language interview (which you can read at http://agencecw.com/keneth-lecrivain-a-quete-partage/) I granted him in Dakar, Senegal, in June this year. I said:

«Je vais le dire jusqu’à la fin de ma vie, je n’écris pas pour avoir de l’argent. Si je pouvais, j’écrirais et j’imprimerai mes livres pour que le maximum de personne puissent lire mes écrits et vivre ma philosophie». (I will say until the end of my life, I do not write to make money. If I could, I would write and print my books so that as many people as possible can read my writings and share in my philosophies)

With regard to why I write, I told Pascal:

«Je ne peux pas entrer dans ce monde et ressortir en laissant le monde comme je l’ai trouvé; il faudrait absolument que je marque mon passage positivement.» (I cannot enter this world and leave it the same as I met it by the time I exit it; it is absolutely necessary that I leave positive footprints as I journey through the world.)


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: My most favourite quote, in fact, the quote that sent me into writing (and other forms of art like music and drama which I also practice), was heard from one of my best Cameroonian Njang musicians Prince Yerimah Afo Akom, who says: “Creativity is not sold in the market” and translates it into French as “la créativité ne se vend pas au marché”. I don’t care if Afo Akom is the author of this quote, but I care about the fact that I first heard it from him and it has made me what I am today and will be in future.


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: To new or aspiring writers, if you want to be a writer, stop wanting and start being by writing. There is no best time to start anything, not to talk of writing. And when you start writing, keep money away from your art, otherwise you will soil your talent. Just write, write to do what you want to do with your writing, then other things can come and meet your writing. Any writer in the present century who is not internet- and social media-friendly has a problem! So take advantage of innovative technologies and let the whole world know about your writing. Above all, be humble enough to learn from established writers and critics. However, do not allow anybody to interfere with your authentic voice and power of freedom and experimentation as a writer.


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: Yes, I have three collections so far, which are all available on Amazon. They are Chaining Freedom (Miraclaire Publishing LLC, 2012), Bites of Insanity (Langaa RPCIG, 2015) and If You Must Fall Bush (Langaa RPCIG, 2016). I also self-published a monograph on my native village entitled Do You Know Mbesa? in 2013 and a motivational/inspirational book entitled Mounting the Stairs of Challenge in 2011. All these two books will be published as new editions in the days ahead. Plus, many other collections, plays and stories like the one which fetched me a tenth position prize in the pioneer short story competition organised by Cameroon’s Ministry of Arts and Culture in June 2016.

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