Thursday, March 17, 2011
Writers Talk with Juliet Wilson
A happy Thursday to you, & time for Writers Talk. Our interviewee today is a poet whose work I admire for her careful observation of the natural world, & who also admirably combines her poetic efforts with a keen awareness of how we must all put our best effort forward if we are to preserve that world for future generations. She is also a blogger whose efforts have been recognized both for her raising consciousness about environmental issues (she is listed on the Best Green Blogs Directory) & her blog also has been recognized by Blogger as a Blog of Note.
Juliet Wilson is an Edinburgh based poet, reviewer, adult education tutor & conservation volunteer. She writes mostly haiku and free verse, much of which is inspired by the natural world. She has been widely published in UK poetry journals and online. She blogs at Crafty Green Poet & tweets under the same name, she also edits the online poetry journal Bolts of Silk. Her chapbook Unthinkable Skies was published in 2010 by Calder Wood Press.
Please check out Juliet Wilson’s poem “Blackbird Lawn” at the bottom of the interview (a new wrinkle, & yes, it will also appear on the Writers Talk blog). I know you'll enjoy the interview!
When did you first realize your identity as a writer?
I loved writing compositions all through school but I first realized I was a writer when I was about eleven and wrote my first poem. I first actually made space for writing in my life when I was living and teaching in Malawi and had few distractions and so more time for writing. It was several years after returning to the UK that I really started taking writing seriously. Even now my identity as a writer is changing, I recently started writing short stories and also teaching creative writing in the University of Edinburgh Office of Lifelong Learning programme.
Describe the creative process involved in any one piece you’ve written—this could be book, a story, a poem, an essay, etc.
I write a lot of haiku and for most of them the process is the same. I take an observation and note it down then I think about all the elements that should be in a haiku (juxtaposition of two images, seasonal reference etc) and present the observation in haiku form, trying to capture that elusive aha moment that is central to the best haiku. I’m always aware though that one person’s aha moment can so easily be another person’s ‘so what?’.
Could you describe your relationship to the publishing process (this can be publishing in any form, from traditional book publishing to blogging, etc)
I’ve been blogging at Crafty Green Poet for over 5 years. I also edit the online poetry journal Bolts of Silk, which gives me a look at the other side of the publishing and editing process. Editing has really helped develop my critical eye and to become more analytical of my own poetry. I am active on Twitter, which I consider to be part of the publishing process as well as the marketing process. I have self published one poetry chapbook (Bougainvillea Dancing) which raised money for charities working in Malawi. I have had one chapbook (Unthinkable Skies) published by Calder Wood Press, a small publishing company based near Edinburgh. I need really to become more disciplined in terms of sending out individual pieces to journals and competitions.
How has being a writer affected your relationships?
I’m not sure that it has….. I have an understanding partner!
How would you describe the community of writers you belong to—if any? This may be a “real” or “virtual” (in more than one sense) community.
I have a lot of acquaintances in the Edinburgh poetry scene, but the literary scene has never really been my main community. I have several friends who aren’t writers at all and that feels important to me. I ‘know’ a lot of writers through blogging, Facebook and Twitter, and that feels like a nice virtual community!
What are your future goals in terms of writing?
I’d like to have a full collection of poetry out at some point. I'd also like to write more short stories.
This male blackbird has one white eyebrow
but sings as beautifully as the rest.
His mate is the brown of polished chestnuts
with a beak as bright as his.
Dutifully they collect food, wait
every morning for the scattered raisins
to carry to their brood.
Soon they will come to the lawn
with large-mouthed, speckled young -
teach them to pull worms from grass,
to recognise the footfalls
that promise sweetness.
from the chapbook Unthinkable Skies, published 2010 by Calder Wood Press