Interview: On Poetry and More with Wendy Cope

InterviewsWendy Cope is one of the most beloved contemporary British poets, known for her wit and succinct expression. When she was rumoured to become the next poet laureate she announced that she wasn’t interested, believing that a poet should be free to write the poems they want to write. Even more amazingly, she makes a living from writing poetry and, to our continuous joy, runs poetry workshops at Kingston University. WPN is proud to present Wendy Cope in conversation with Boyana Petrovich, discussing things poetry, literature and life related.

By Boyana Petrovich

Wendy, you sold your archive to the British Library in 2011. It included 40,000 emails, poetry notebooks, school reports, Word files, early school work, correspondence and accounts books. What struck me most was that you had all this saved in the first place, most of us don’t even keep a diary. What motivated you to collect such an extensive archive? Were there things you decided to exclude from the archive and keep just for yourself?

I’ve always tended to keep letters and so on, even before I had any thought of being a published writer. When I got published I became aware that my documents might be of interest at some stage.

In 2011 I needed to raise money to buy a house – my partner was retiring and the house we lived in went with his job. So I contacted the British Library. To persuade them to buy I had to throw in a few things I would rather have kept.

After you published Serious Concerns Ted Hughes wrote to you: “I like your deadpan fearless sort of way of whacking the nail on the head – when everybody else is trying to hang pictures on it.” How would you describe your poetry? How would you like people to remember it? Continue reading


Interview: Performance Poetry with Alison Hill

InterviewsLast week we introduced you guys to the upcoming poetry and music event in Kingston known as Rhythm & Muse.  This week, we had a chat with the event’s creator, poet Alison Hill.  Alison was kind enough to share some of her thoughts with us about her work, her passion for local art and what it means to see it performed live right here in our community. 

by Stephanie Dotto and Cais Jurgens

S: So, Alison, tell us a little bit about some of your work as a poet.  Do you have anything new coming out?

A: Well, I’ve been writing since about the mid-90s, submitting to magazines and anthologies and have been published in quite a wide selection of magazines.  Some of my work has been translated into Romanian and German via poetry pf.   I also have some poems in a forthcoming anthology, Poets in Person, edited by Aprilia Zank which features twenty established poets. It’s a follow up to a reading event at The Glassblower pub last year. My new full collection, Slate Rising, is coming out in April with Indigo Dreams Publishing.

S: Who are your favourite poets?  Are there any particular movements of poetry that have inspired your writing?

A: Well Eliot and Yeats have always sort of been with me and I read lots of contemporary women poets.

C: Are most of the poets that you read self-published?

A: Well, not really, no.  But lots of the guest readers that come to Rhythm & Muse come to promote new collections, so I read their work as well.  Anthologies are great for discovering new poets. Continue reading