Yoanna Stefanova talking with Alycia Pirmohamed on writing poetry, cultural identity and belonging and on writing workshops and collaborative work
In a wide-ranging conversation, poet and reviewer, Beth McDonough, interviews Costa Book of the Year poet, Hannah Lowe for DURA and Imagined Spaces (www.imaginedspaces.uk) about her writing practices, about using the sonnet form, the American poets that she loves, the tension between the autobiographical and poetic form and language, and colonial history.
For me, writing poetry demands different parts of my resources, whether it is my feelings, my energy, my brain, my ego, my sense of self, or my sense of audience. But I’m probably at my happiest when I’m writing a poem. The process is what excites me the most, and when I’m done, it feels quite removed from me. I’m not reluctant to send it out, which I think some poets are – they fear rejection. I think having been an actress helps. Nobody likes rejection, but it’s not going to kill me. I’m quite pragmatic; I see it as just another part of the process.
The pandemic has taken a lot from everyone over this past year but my conversation with Tishani Doshi is one of those rare examples where a world in isolation and an increase of online connectivity turn into blessings. Tishani Doshi greets me from what seems like an oasis. I call online from my flat in Dundee to her, by the sea in India, Tamil Nadu – my morning, her afternoon. I speak to her just days after her appearance at StAnza poetry festival.
I had never left home before. Aside from holidays, I hadn’t lived anywhere that wasn’t Dundee. Last summer, I did at the age of twenty-five what most people do at eighteen; I moved to Leeds, into student accommodation for my work placement. I was forced to make a home for myself in an unfamiliar place. Read More
A bitter wind howls in from the east blowing the rain horizontal. I could easily be on the Yorkshire moors of Wuthering Heights, and this would be a fitting backdrop for an interview with gothic novelist, Sandra Ireland. We meet in Carnoustie’s Costa Coffee to chat about her most recent novel The Unmaking of Ellie Read More
Meaghan Delahunt, a small sunburst of a person, meets me on a cold mid-March morning in Edinburgh with a smile and a joke about elbow-bumping, softly deflecting the viral threat of a handshake or hug as only an avid reader of that day’s online news would know to do. On the train and in the Read More
I am ravaged by a fever that incapacitates me for days. Every part of my body aches and my mind is occupied only with the sensation of intense discomfort and the wish for relief. I feel as though broken glass has settled inside my chest. Every inhalation agitates it into a cloud that stabs my Read More
It is not hard to spot Joelle Taylor across a busy theatre foyer. The tall blonde quiff gives her away, but as I approach, I notice an open confidence that suggests performance poet too. I meet her on the penultimate day of the StAnza poetry festival, less than a fortnight before such gatherings become a Read More
Sunshine streams in through the huge windows of Perth Concert Hall where Clare Hunter and I meet to talk about her book, Threads of Life, a History of the World through the Eye of a Needle. Recently published, this is a history of the social impact and political meaning of textiles. Armed with coffee and Read More