Thursday, 12 March 2020

Interview with Poet Kim Moore

Kim Moore was born in 1981, and lives and works in Cumbria.

Her first full-length collection, The Art of Falling, was published by Seren in April 2015.  She won a new Writing North Award in 2014, an Eric Gregory Award in 2011 and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2012.  The Art of Falling won the Geoffrey Faber Prize.  Previous winners include Seamus Heaney and J.M. Coetzee.

Her first pamphlet, If We Could Speak Like Wolves, was a winner in The Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, judged by Carol Ann Duffy.  If We Could Speak Like Wolves was chosen as an Independent Book of the Year in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award and Lakeland Book of the Year Award.

Kim blogs here.

You can read Kim's own account of her starting out and progressing as a poet here.

Kim was interviewed on 9 March 2020 by third year BA English Literature and BA Creative Writing students, Department of English, University of Chester.


Q: Where do you find inspiration for your writing?  How often do your write?

A: Usually from real life - things that annoy me, or make me laugh, strange things I notice, things people say, things I overhear on public transport.  Sometimes (most of the time) in writing them into a poem they get changed/exaggerated/elaborated. 

At the moment I'm not writing a lot of poems - mainly because my PhD is due in next week, so I've been finishing writing the critical part of the thesis which is about 38 thousand words.

Before I focused on the critical writing for the PhD though, I would probably write at least every other day.

Q: Do you start writing your poems by hand or on a computer?

A: I always write by hand in a notebook first of all and it takes me quite a while to type poems up.  I find that process very difficult - and I'm quite superstitious about getting the 'right' time to move the poems from the notebook to the computer.

In my notebook, they are actually just set out as prose, and when I type them up, that's when I put the line breaks in and find out if they are going to work as poems or not.

Q: Many of your poems are highly personal.  Are you always happy to share them with readers?

A: Yes, otherwise I wouldn't share them!  They are personal, but I also think of them as like shields between myself and the audience - there is nothing in the poem that I don't want to share or give away - in fact the poem keeps me safe in a way - because everything I want to say is in there and I don't have to say anything else.

What I have found hard is questions from the audience about the poems, particularly the sequence in the middle of the book, particularly because people want to ask about the personal experience behind the poems.  Reading the poems out is easy compared to this!

Q: Do you have a poem which you think is the best you've ever written?

A: Ha!  I think probably 'In That Year'.  It was one of those poems that came as a gift - I wrote it sitting on the floor one December in front of the fire, and I was half asleep, and woke up with my head in the dog basket and the poem was finished.  I did hardly any editing - just put the line breaks in later.  It is an important poem to me.

Q: How do you pick which poems to submit to a magazine?

A: If I've bothered to type the poem up, and work on it, I will send it out somewhere to see what happens.  Sending the poem out and it getting rejected or accepted is part of the creative process for me.  If I think the poem is good, I will have one go at a competition - just to see if I can win some money!  And then I send it out to a magazine, usually a group of poems actually - 5 or 6.

Q: Are there any particular poetry magazines you would recommend?

A: I really like The North, Poetry Review.  I think Modern Poetry in Translation is a fantastic magazine and well worth subscribing to.  I like The Dark Horse as well.  There are too many!  The Rialto as well.

Q: Do you ever get writer's block? What do you do when that happens?

A: I have periods of time where I don't write, but I don't think of it as writer's block.  I am currently not writing poems (although I'm writing prose for my PhD).  But I think of it as a gathering time - so usually I would be reading other people's poetry non-stop and just waiting until I feel like writing again.  I try not to worry about it - although it's easier said than done! I had a baby nine months ago, and I couldn't write poetry at all afterwards so started writing short stories... but I mainly read - I didn't become a poet because of anything I'd written - I wanted to become a good poet because of poems I'd read so that is what I always go back to.

Kim Moore is a case-study poet for the Literature and Creative Writing module EN6013 Writing Poetry for Publication, Department of English, University of Chester.

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