Two entirely wonderful writers, activists and friends, Naomi Foyle and Seni Seneviratne asked me to join in with MY WRITING PROCESS BlOG TOUR. So I said yes, am joining it late and now realise I rarely talk about what I am working on! Why not? Modesty? No, superstition. What if it doesn’t work out?  What if I abandon the project in despair? What if, what if, what if? So here goes nothing.

What am I working on?

It has been described in a poetry seminar run by poet Mimi Khalvati for Lewes Live Literature alternately as a ‘spaghetti western’ and a ‘prose poem novel’…

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I am not sure I know anyone who has written anything quite like this to be honest. Though this blog may well prove me wrong! I do know excellent poets writing prose poetry though and you will find many of them in a terrific anthology This Line is Not For Turning An Anthology of Contemporary British Prose Prose Poetry published by Cinnamon Press in 2011, the first of its kind in the U.K and to which I was especially pleased to have contributed. Given how squeamish the poetry world in this country has been about the prose poem it hopefully signals a – long overdue – sea change.

Why do I write what I do?

Here’s what I wrote for Poetry International Web some years ago: “I’ve always been concerned with borders and boundaries: between countries, cultures, languages, between social and sexual identities, health and illness.”  This is still true and it also leads me to question – push at – the boundaries between verse and prose. I also love telling stories, as well being told them, so narrative is an important part of what I write. Either-Ors are something I’m looking for creative ways to escape. It feels natural to include stories of love alongside stories of destruction or war and in my new work I am interlacing different themes even more than I have done before.

How does your writing process work?

I tell my creative writing students to be disciplined, to make regular time and space to write, to face the blank page daily. Isn’t it easy to give advice?! In practice I am chaotic, undisciplined. I do carry a notebook with me much of the time however and I usually start off writing by hand. (I love pen and paper) I do carry ideas in my head for days. (Incubation.) I do block out time in my diary (not enough). I do go back to things. I do believe in the unconscious lending a hand. I walk along the seafront and that helps too.

I do try out work on trusted peers and mentors. (Invaluable). I do research and read. I do work my socks off. When I’m truly in it it makes my heart sing. I edit. Endlessly.


Next on the blog tour you can read about the writing process of two exciting writers poet and editor Astrid Alben and novelist and poet Louise Halvardsson



Photos: above from Exiled Writers Ink reading at the Poetry Cafe in London April 7th 2014 (photo courtesy of Magda Raczyńska) with Katarzyna Zechenter, Anna Maria Mickiewicz and David Clark (photo courtesy of Magda Raczyńska), above top Piękni Ludzie Polish poetry anthology launch with Adam Siemieńczyk in Birmingham last year, below with poet/editor Sasha Dugdale & Deborah Dekock from Modern Poetry in Translation, poet Wojciech Bonowicz and poet/translator Elżbieta Wójcik- Leese at Aldeburgh Festival 2013.