Spineless Wonders asks Keri Glastonbury
1. What inspired you to write the prose poem/microfiction which is published in Small Wonder?
I was travelling in China and India in 2009. After many years of teaching creative writing and facilitating other students’ work I felt very unsure of myself as a poet, but could feel myself being stimulated again by cultural differences and displacement. I had an Asialink Residency in Shimla and had never travelled to either India or China before, so was keen to get some contemporary cultural experience of these two countries that dominate the Australian media in terms of their emerging economies.
2.Tell us about that process. (Do you start sparse and widen out, or do you write down every possible association and cut back? Do you research the subject matter you are writing about? Is it pure intuition?) Take us through an example if you want.
My poems are like chimney-sweeps, dumps of ash which are the remnants of thoughts that flared and then disappeared. I have lost control of lineation so the prose poem suits me well. I’m a poet who really wants to be an essayist, but instead of a Rebecca Solnit-style essay manuscript I came back to Australia with some dense prose poems, hybrid oxymorons.
3. What advice do you have for other writers ? about the first or last line? About how to choose the title? Do you follow any rules?
I’m not very interested in conventionally well-crafted poems, and instead privilege sensibility. The poems are a matrix of a moment, but also remainders that allow me to remember how it felt to be on the cusp of something that felt alive and dynamic enough to want to transcribe it aesthetically. My poems are moments of synthesis and response to the world around me, which necessarily can’t be synthesized coherently.
4. Who or what inspires your writing?
Most of my poems are discontinuous dialogues with friends, even though the people who inspired them may not respond to the format of the poem at all.
5. Tell us what do you do if you haven’t written anything in a while and you want to get started writing again? Could you share your favourite writing exercise with our readers?
I constantly facilitate writing exercises for my students, but I doubt I would respond to any form of organized writing prompts. I guess I don’ t practice what I preach!
Keri Glastonbury is a lecturer in Creative Writing at The University of Newcastle. Her poetry collection ‘grit salute’ will be published in 2012 by SOI3.
Audio files of Keri reading her Small Wonder’s prose poems are available here, on our Audio page.