January 26, 2019
I recently bumped into an old friend from primary school. Not only has she graduated as a product design engineer, shes a poet! We got to talking about her craft and the New Zealand poetry scene, here's what she had to say...
What do most well-crafted poems have in common? Or What do most poorly-crafted poems have in common?
My well-crafted poems have many many drafts. My poorly crafted poems are dirty, emotional, wallowing things (dis-proportionally featuring the word skin) that were never intended to see the light of day and never will.
What is your background? And are you creating full time? If not, what else do you do?
I was basically raised in an amateur theater. It's wonderful to create art within a community
and I loved feeling like I had an endless stream of nutty families to jump in and out of,
play to play. I did that all the way through schooling and an engineering degree. I fell in
love with poetry a couple of years ago and do that part time along with product
How did you establish your style and how would you describe it?
Establishing my style was (and is) an excavation process. My poetry is batshit silly and
lighthearted even if the subject matter is serious because that's generally how I think.
I reckon you've got to try and catch the poems off guard - documenting free thinking
when going about daily business.
What is the one instrument indispensable to your creative process? What couldn't you
Google docs. Praised be. Keeps track of my revisions, is convenient for organisation
purposes and, can be accessed from anywhere except China on any device. Praised. Be.
Who or what are your biggest influences? What poets do you continually go back to?
Without a doubt Ken Arkind and Carrie Rudzinski. They are incredible and also living, breathing human beings and also reside in Auckland and also regularly teach and run events. Squee. Those two would probably be really weirded out if they knew how much we all idolize them. Their senses of humor, intellects and storytelling gifts are things to aspire to.
What has been your most challenging piece or work so far?
Most of my poems use subjects that have been arbitrarily given to me. It's more of a technical challenge than an emotional one. But I perform a poem called “undesignated places” (included) which was particularly difficult. It's about hair in places that aren't often talked about (chins, navels, nipples, backs, toes). While I was researching I became really angry by just how common this was and just how many of these women thought they were freakish for something that was statistically quite probable and normal. I had to get past the anger and write the damn poem which took months.
What did you learn in 2018 that will change your perceptions going into 2019?
I learned that community is key. I was lucky enough to be involved in a couple of bigger poetry events and the people I spent time with have become a budding new family for me. They inspire and encourage me. My art has improved so much because of them.
Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?
Oh absolutely. I really had no interest in poetry before I sat in the audience of Rising Voices - 2015. I thought it was all tears, roses and shipwrecks (lots of moist subjects, very dry writing). I now see it as one of the most flexible forms to communicate ideas and stories. You can have a lot of fun with it. No one had told me to shut up yet.
Is there an ‘everyday issue’ that drives you forward?
I think that writing for entertainment can be just as important as writing to convey ideas. Some rocket scientists listen to jazz to chill out if you get what I mean. Both are needed.
Also, my catch phrase at the moment is “Take over the world”. Many have joined the army already. Were making nz the world capital of poetry. Vague, ambitious goals are my thing.
Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they?
Are you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?
Yes! You can find me on instagram @whenpoetsattack and on facebook by searching for Rosie - Poet. I am still trying to find a balance between social media and life. I do tend to get addicted and anxious so I only use it for work which helps somewhat. I wouldn't let it stick around if it didn't connect me with wonderful people and lead to great opportunities.
Written by Alicia Taylor.