1. What inspired you to write the prose poem/microfiction which will appear in Flashing the Square?
I often walk to a nearby reserve where I used to see a few hares and wallabies. They used to eat the roses in adjacent gardens but the owners did not mind. I put myself in the shoes of those very tolerant people.
2. Tell us about your 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.
I take a notebook with me and scribble all the ideas, observations, phrases that come to mind until the excitement has calmed. Then I get it all onto the computer to play with.
While it is fresh, I work on it for a day or too. After that I put it away for a week and bring it out again. If I am happy, I send it somewhere. If not, I leave it longer. A poem forthcoming in Australia Poetry Journal 4.1 first jotted down two years ago. I was aware of it but could not finish it until recently when I thought of an entirely new ending. I never throw anything away but I often cannibalise lines in an otherwise hopeless project and rid myself of the rest of it. Yes, I research on Google and at our local library. I have a card for the State library but haven’t used it yet. I basically use my own observations.
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?)
The title is most important without being too obvious. It must not seem too unconnected with the poem. The first line should be an eye-catcher, that is, different from the usual. The last line should be clever, with a word /idea twist somehow connected to theme of the poem.
I read other poets, work out why they mesmerize me, why their emotion does not strike me as sentimental. Simply, I read everything I can get my hands on.
5. Tell us what 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 get out an abandoned poem from my box and ‘kill’ the bits I hate, then work on the ‘bones.’
Irene Wilkie’s work has appeared in many anthologies and journals including Blue Dog, Poetrix, Idiom 23, fourW eighteen, fourW twenty-four, Five Bells, Going Down Swinging, Broadkill Review USA, Idiom 23, Australian Reader, Divan, the Henry Lawson Festival of the Arts Anthology, Award Winning Australian Writing 2011 (Melbourne Books), Notes for the Translators 2012 (ed. Kit Kelen) and Australian Poetry Members Anthology 2013. She has won and been placed in various competitions. Her first book of poetry, Love and Galactic Spiders (2005) and her second, Extravagance (2013) were published by Ginninderra Press. Irene has read her poetry at Shoalhaven poetry festivals, at the Shoalhaven Arts Centre, at Bundanon, at the South Coast Writers Centre as a featured reader, at Newtown and Glebe at the RhyZomic Poetry Readings.