From the first time I heard Emily read I was hooked, the presentation, the passion and the power made the audience sit up and take notice. Emily stole the show at the Fire River Open Mic night.
Emily is a member of Juncture 25, Taunton’s leading poetry group. She has read at many events and has the ability to captivate the audience. There is a real energy about her readings, if you get the chance to catch her at a festival this summer take it. You will not be disappointed.
Not only is Emily a first rate poet, [who writes about Magpies] she is also a seasoned traveller and her account of her journey across Europe in a van is a delight. I am not much of a reader of travel stories but I found Travelson the Continent to be an excellent travel book. It kept me entertained from start to finish.
What I like about her work is its richness; there is much to ponder on in her poetry. I am impressed by the skilled manner in which she deals with rhythm. There is a lyrical quality to her work that draws you in and transfixes you.
Enough from me, let’s here from Emily.
Because I’m too impatient! Just joking – I like the way poetry captures an image, a moment or a feeling that is hard to express in just one page (or less than page). In fact to counter that, I am actually trying to write a novel (so far about 1/3 of the way!) and it’s a great experience because you have so much time to look at a situation from all sorts of different angles. With poetry you’ve got one shot at making an impact.
Plus poetry can be so striking – sometimes you find a poem that just hits you, perhaps because you’ve had a similar experience or perhaps a similar feeling. I want to do that. One of my favorite examples that has stuck with me is Julia Copus’: “we don’t fall in love: it rises through us…like tea stains as it creeps up…a cube of sugar lying by a cup.”
My poetry is often emotional but I believe you can’t truly represent something unless you’ve been there in your mind, either in real or imagined state and I hope that (like how I sometimes have that eurieka moment with other poems) my poems can affect other people in the same way.
Tell us about how you work? – tell us about your work…(in advertently changed the question, might also answer the original question at the end…)
I’ve been writing since I was little and I hope have now got out of that awkward stage when you write laments over your poor teenage life…(but probably not).
Possible favorite proud moment: won second place in a school poetry competition with a little poem I wrote in an English lesson. We weren’t set for anything except science and maths and so my mind often drifted in English (particularly as we were studing Of Mice and Men – not one of my favourite books). I didn’t put a name on the poem, just posted it to the box then saw it on the school wall a week later. Secretly I thought that if I had put my name to it I would have come first!
Since moving to the South West I have met the most wonderful people (Paul included!!) who have supported my writing and performing. I think I would have continued to write anyway but would not have the same guidance, I’m still astonished that together Juncture 25 have published our own book. It’s so exciting and I just want to hand out copies to everyone I see in the street!
Other things I suppose I could include in ‘your work’: my dissertation at uni was a collection of poems based on the Cornish myth of Tristan & Isolde. I printed it on my mums printer and bound it with card and raffia then sold quite a few copies!
And then I’ve got my blog (shouldn’t really call it that!) my ‘kindle book’. About my travels around Europe in a red ford transit van/campervan. It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I wrote it all down. The book wasn’t just a diary of my travels though (I have that handwritten somewhere!) I like to think of it as a window on a journey. I hope that it could be a good read to others, I certainly like looking back, and I included little poems, lists, photos – photos were a key part – and stuff like that. It was fun to do and it’s available on amazon for the kindle – a fair 98 pence!
The campervan you drove hither and thither across Europe - what was that all about?
After university I didn’t know what to do (a common feeling I do believe). Applied to various graduate schemes before deciding that wasn’t what I wanted so instead embarked upon a journey.
The van was incredible. 6 foot long wheel base, giant steering wheel, wild engine. It took us through 13 countries safely (mostly) and was the most amazing way to see and experience Europe. I thought that the trip would be more productive – poetry wise – but I suppose it was mostly spent absorbing the environment. I did however write a diary every day and a blog post about each section of the journey. And I’m so glad I did as it forms a good story and even though things have changed since then, still makes me smile. One day I might write up the boring version!! (The daily diary!)
Which would you say is the more important-the poem on the page or the spoken poem?
I think they are equally important. I know I am the worst person for sitting on the fence but I am strongly perched on this one. I began writing for myself (cringe) and so they were I suppose silent poems and now that I have found my ‘voice’ in more ways than one, although I think my poetic voice does wander around a bit, I have found a new dimension for the poems. I love the way different people read a poem, again a double meaning, people read poems differently and they sound different in different peoples mouths. And the main thing about poetry – and literature – that I love is that it is all right.
Which would it be tea or coffee?
Tea. Loose leaf. With a digestive.
What's in the pipeline?
I hear we are going to be performing at 2000 trees festival in July! Again, I am grateful to Juncture 25 for pushing me towards these things. Work has slightly overtaken my life at the moment, and sometimes means that I don’t do as much writing as I want to, or apply to festivals, competitions etc etc etc but to have a group of people working towards the same thing, namely getting ourselves out into the world, is brilliant.
Personally I would like to get my own book out there at some point, the plan is the magpies… I’ve got a collection of poems from the Magpie rhyme (1 for sorrow, 2 for joy…) and I’m nearly finished but I’m just waiting for the words to come. Then I want to do something with the 7 finished poems, whether a book or a performance or a video, or a piece of art…the possibilities are endless!! Plus my novel which I hope at some point to finish. It’s going to be a long one though, I don’t want to make it into a short story. It is based on two children and their journey through life. I have tried not to use any ‘internal monologues’ and is entirely founded on the descriptions of their body language. I hope that some people might like to read it, if not it is certainly a good exercise
Apart from all that, the pipeline includes honing my rather wayward writings!
What question would you not like me to ask?
Do you write for yourself or for others…
And how would you answer it?
I write for myself but I hope that it illuminates similar things in other people’s lives or imaginations. But I feel guilty sometimes that I write for myself and in the future (when I become more worldly wise) perhaps I will be able to be more proactive, but probably not.
If you were a colour/ a book/ a poem and a song what would you be?
Grey. The Magic Faraway Tree. Words, Wide Night – Carol Ann Duffy. Such Great Heights – The Postal Service.
Tell us about how you work?
I do most of my writing in bed, or in the arm chair by my bedroom window, and quite a bit on trains. I have been known to write something down on the steering wheel (don’t tell anyone!). Possibly because these are the places where I am on my own, or where I can gather my thoughts. I especially find trains very thought-gathering places.
This may be why I struggle with writing in form, my poems seem to come at strange times, normally when my mind relaxes a little bit, and when I try really hard to write something in structure, or for example my ‘gold’ magpie poem – I have the scene, the “whats at stake” (thanks Ginny) and the characters so it were but just haven’t found the words yet. So I’m just waiting for that to form itself.
So in a nutshell, my writing is not confined (to a nutshell) and I hope that with the right nurturing will grow wings and fly. There we go!