How do your poems develop? Could you walk us through the stages?
All of my poems are an instant reaction to something I’m feeling at the moment. I could be anywhere and just feel something so intense that I will need to grab my phone and write something in my "notes" to get it out of my chest. It’s as simple as that, I don’t plan something for days and think about an idea for hours or whatever, I just write what I feel at a specific moment. It’s a very smooth writing process.
Has your idea of poetry changed since you began writing poems?
I actually began writing poems at a very young age, I’ve always loved that. But at that time, poetry for me was just an imaginative script, it was just creative. I saw poetry and writing in general as something fun to do, as any other hobby. Today I write about reality, about life, it’s not fantasy anymore. I don’t write for fun now I write as a need. Poetry for me now is a helping tool, and, I realized, something that could help me share my vision, my thoughts, my conceptions about life with the rest of the world, as well as all the things I couldn’t say.
Which poets/poems influence you?
Believe it or not, I’m not a big poem reader. I love writing, but reading poems is not something I do a lot. I just want to express myself, get things out of my chest, but reading others is not my cup of tea. Occasionally I do, because i like myself some good poems. Since I created my Instagram account I started reading a little bit from time to time to give feedback to my mutuals. So I can’t really give you names of poets I could say influence me. I really like Guy de Maupassant though.
Your poems on Instagram are introduced by beautiful pieces of companion art. Do you write around the image or does it come after? Or how do you craft an image to accompany your poetry?
The images come after! They often could not even have a link with the poem.
You must be wondering why I do that then, let me explain!
On this account I post poems which are very personal to me, it’s my little space, my little world, so I felt like the whole feed/aesthetic of it should also give an insight of my world and feel personal, thus why I chose this particular one because these are my favorite colours and anything related to Greek and Roman art/architecture/sculptures etc are something I’ve always been very interested in from a very young age. It’s just about creating a certain atmosphere!
From your poem “Slice your heart” the last lines, “Oh queen of hollow / swallow back your words / slice your heart back in / fill it up with black ink / until it runs outta your eyes,” really stuck with me. Are there any lines of poems you’ve come across that you carry with you?
It makes me happy a line from my poem really made you stop and think for a few seconds. Thank you! I have this one line that is from a song, actually, but I consider songs as a form of poems too so here you go: " I don’t mind falling / If it means I get to fly again" from " I Don’t Mind" by Zayn. Really stuck with me !
With titles like “Honey drops, “Slice your heart,” and “Less than that,” what role do you feel title should play in a poem? Any advice you have for fellow writers on titling?
Title is one of the most important thing for me when it comes to writing! First of all, this is what potential readers are going to see first and what will make them want to read or not your poem. I don’t want to make a living off of my poems so I don’t really think from that point of view, but for someone who wants to, they should keep this in mind.
Since title is what someone reads first, it will also influence the way they will understand your poem and the vibe/dimension they will give and attach to it.
Titling is what I have the most fun doing though!
If you have trouble titling your work here are some tips: it should sum up the emotion you felt while writing it, or the most important word from your poem, or something that sums up the whole poem, or just something that you feel is important to put forward. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to really have a reason honestly, just chose what you’re feeling!
Faulkner is often credited for saying to “kill your darlings” while revising. Do you find this to be valid advice?
If you write for others, it is, if you write for yourself, then the answer from my point of view is: no!
What’s something you wish readers knew about the poetry form?
I just wish they knew what they are reading is only the tip of an iceberg, poetry is not like writing a book, it’s not pages and pages of words, each poem has its own essence, its own story. The poetry form is the clearest form that enables to see through someone’s soul but also the most confusing, it’s very rare a reader clearly understands what the poet meant and felt.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I’d just want to encourage them to write, or just create! Any kind of creation, may it be painting, sculpting, or even music, anything!
Huge thanks to Colin Webster for interviewing with us! Colin has written two novels so far: The Mayakovski Assignment and The Solutude Tree and a short story titled "Bad Timing." Hope you guys enjoy this interview as much as I do!
How much research do you do to prepare your writing? Are there any sources/methods that you'd recommend for fellow writers?
I only really do enough research to allow me to create the fictional world in which the story is set. I am not aiming to write a text book but provide just enough detail to paint what I hope is a realistic image of the fictional world in the reader’s mind. For me the research creates a vivid image in my own mind which I then try and create in the book. I use all different sources for my research including books, magazines, TV, anything that is relevant and feeds my imagination. The internet of course is a source of knowledge on everything!
Your work is rich in history and detail, and your books are praised by readers for being page-turners. How do you balance giving us the details with moving the story along?
It can be difficult to balance historical detail and keeping the story moving along at the right pace. I try and aim to create enough of an image in the reader’s mind to convince them they are ‘there’ in that fictional world and hopefully then the reader will ‘see’ the characters and story played out in that world as if it were real. Creating that image in a way the reader does not notice is not an easy thing to do – but is part of the challenge of writing.
Someone once told me that in writing a novel the story goes a mile wide and an inch deep, and in a short story it's the opposite. What are your thoughts? Were there any noticeable differences for you in writing novels vs short fiction?
Writing a novel certainly allows the writer to develop the story and characters in much more detail. A short story on the other hand has by its nature to be brief, to bring the story to its conclusion efficiently and usually contains only a few characters. I lean more toward writing novels as I like being in the challenge for the long haul.
Your back-of-the book summaries fill us in enough to give us a picture of what to expect and enough mystery to hook us in. What helps you write a strong summary?
That’s a tough one. When you have written a full length novel, trying to summarize it in one paragraph always seems impossible. It takes time and more than a few attempts to create something which you hope grabs the reader’s attention. It forces you to think what the story is really about and then put it down in one short paragraph. Unless you are a marketing guru there is no easy answer. If it is good story you should be able to achieve it.
Are there any tips/tricks about the writing/publishing process you have to share with aspiring writers?
Writing is hard work, especially novels, and it takes time – a lot of time, so be prepared to put in the effort. If you do you will find the journey a rewarding one. I write for pleasure, it provides an outlet for my creative side. And yes, to see the finished novel published (either self or commercially) and to have it read and reviewed positively is a hugely satisfying after the years of work. Yes I did say years. Unless of course you are lucky enough to be able to write full time.
Publishing is extremely difficult to achieve. There are many more writers than agents or publishers and so getting a publishing deal is a bit of a lottery. Thankfully writers can access the market through self-publishing with platforms such as Amazon and the e-book revolution. Given that more e-books are sold than paperbacks this is a very respectable way for most writers to get their work ‘out there’.
Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?
My novels are available on all Amazon on-line stores and can be accessed by the following links:
The Solitude Tree: https://www.amazon.com/Solitude-Tree-Wartime-Memories-Australian-ebook/dp/B07BCZT9MZ/
The Mayakovski Assignment: https://www.amazon.com/Mayakovski-Assignment-Cold-War-Thriller-ebook/dp/B007Y4D750/
You can also find him on Facebook and Instagram!
Photo credit: Colin Webster