Five Minute Interview with Wayne Holloway-Smith

kendal-poetry-festival-poet-wayne-holloway-smith

 

Welcome back to the return of Kendal Poetry Festival’s Five Minute With series.  Our Young Blogger-in-Residence Hannah Hodgson interviewed the fantastic Wayne Holloway-Smith, who will be reading on the 8th September at 11am with Dean Parkin.  You can get a ticket for Wayne’s reading here.

Wayne Holloway-Smith’s pocket book Beloved, in case you’ve been wondering was published by Donut Press in 2011.  He also gained a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Brunel University in 2015.

He won the Geoffrey Dearmer2016 prize, and his first collection Alarum was published by Bloodaxe in 2017.  John Challis reviewed Alarum on behalf of the Poetry School, and said ‘Alarum is enviably good…Hilarious and witty, it’s also terrifically sad, but wears its tragedy so lightly at first it’s hard to notice.’

 

HH: If you hadn’t become a poet, what do you think your career would’ve been?

WHS: I think I would have been the lead singer of The Strokes, or an ice cream man. Ha. In honesty, I don’t know if I can think about things as disconnected as that. I mean, most people I grew up with are either plumbers, carpenters, or else they work on building sites. My dad, in addition to being an asshole, was a builder and painter/decorator. The type of person I am now and what I do are both contingent upon people I meet outside of my own familiar environment, at different moments in my life – these people expose me to new ways of thinking about what I am allowed to do with myself. I reckon poetry ended up being a thing I loved and wanted to do as almost-accidentally as anything else someone might love and end up doing with their time.

HH: What is the strangest poetry event (scenario you have been in?)

WHS:  The best event I recently went to was a thing run by Inua Ellams and Theresa Lola, called RAP Party.  You walk into this dark and absolutely packed room, where everyone is drinking and dancing to a DJ playing hip hop.  Then, every so often, the music cuts, a spotlight hits a part of the room, and there’s a poet reading something interesting.  The particular month I attended, the theme was a specific Kanye West album, so each poet read a piece of work in relation to a track on that album (many seemed to critique the rapper in some way due to his recent behaviour).  The whole thing was so fresh, celebratory and inclusive.  It feels like these types of events are one way forward in terms of rejuvenating poetry readings.  No self-reverence.  No pretensions.  Just pluralism and loads of fun. 

The weirdest thing that ever happened was that two very drunk women had a massive fight right in front of a stage while I was reading.  I don’t know why.  

HH: What is the best thing that has happened to you because of poetry?

WHS: 1) I get to write, read and talk about what I enjoy the most, and get money for it to help support my family. 2) My personal politics is constantly being challenged and shaped by what I read. 3) I’ve met so many brilliant, intelligent and funny people, a lot of whom are now my best friends.

HH: If you could become someone else for a day, which poet would you choose?

WHS: Anne Carson or Mary Ruefle

HH: Do you have any tips for any new or young writers?

WHS: There’s no one way of writing.
Things happen differently for different people.
No one has the monopoly of what is ‘good’.  So you don’t have to listen to people who think they do.

HH: Thanks Wayne! If you’d like to read some of Wayne’s poetry, you can order his collection from Bloodaxe here, or head over to the Poetry Foundation or the Poetry Society to read some of his poems.

Meet our ‘Opening Doors’ Bursary recipients

Kendal Poetry Festival UK - Bringing a Poetry Festival to Kendal and the Lake District

We are very happy to announce the names of our three ‘Opening Doors’ bursary recipients.  We wanted to provide an opportunity for three writers to access the festival who might not otherwise be able to, and we’re really looking forward to welcoming Laura Potts, Frances Norton and Jamie Hale.  Laura, Frances and Jamie will receive accommodation over the weekend of the festival and a Festival Pass to access readings and discussions over the weekend.

Congratulations Laura, Frances and Jamie and another huge thank you to Ann from Brewery Poets who is hosting Laura and Frances for the weekend, and for Christine Webb, who provided a bursary for a writer who identifies as disabled.

Laura Potts is twenty-two years old and lives in West Yorkshire. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award and Lieder Poet at The University of Leeds, her work has appeared in Agenda, Prole and Poetry Salzburg Review. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was last year listed in The Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She also became one of The Poetry Business’ New Poets and a BBC New Voice for 2017. Laura’s first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas, and she received a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018.

Jamie Hale has written his whole life and studied English and Spanish BA (1st Hons).  He is interested in how poetry can sit alongside critical theory.  He explores the disruption of the relationship between self and body.  He has recently performed at the Saboteur Awards, Tate Modern and Barbican Centre.  His poetry has been most recently published in Poetry Quarterly, and his journalism has been published in the Guardian, Rooted in Rights, Unite magazine and the New Statesman.  He is currently developing a solo show exploring Shakespeare’s Richard III, and a nature poetry collection.

Frances Norton  lives with her husband and two teenage children. She is a lecturer and researcher at art school and a practicing artist,  musician and a poet. Her art work and poetry are about the patterns of life, and how that sequence believed to be unshakable, immovable, impermeable can become an interrupted ornament, and the variations,  imperfections,  mishaps and diversions that make life interesting. Her poetry and painting reflect and mirror each other.