Interview with Anne Casey, whose poem, ‘Infusion,’ is in Issue Two. See her recite it below.
Why do you write and what do you hope to achieve in doing it?
When I was around eight, I wrote my first poem — I think it was some terrible thing about spiders. But when I read it to my family, they connected with what I was trying to say and I understood the power of words for the first time. I chose writing and communications as my career from the outset and have never looked back. But it is only in recent years that I have dared to ‘come out of the attic’ with my poetry. My greatest ambition is to move people through my words.
What are the major themes found in your work?
I feel like the poems choose their time to come out. Almost always, they are about things that move me deeply. My mother’s death, for example, or deep emotions stirred by formative transitions in life like motherhood, or moments in nature that resonate. I write about socio-political, humanitarian and environmental issues too, as these weigh heavy. I’ve also written a series of poems entitled ‘In memoriam’ as a remembrance of people, places and times now sadly dying out in my native County Clare, in Ireland. They were experiences that impacted me greatly growing up and my hope is to keep them in living memory for as long as possible.
What influences and inspires you most?
Other writers — particularly poets and the amazing editors and publishers who give us all the opportunity to share our art and try to make an impact on the world. For me, every piece of art — whether it be a poem, painting, song, sculpture, whatever — should leave us changed by the experience.
What not-very-famous writer should we check out?
The debut novel, They All Fall Down, by Cat Hogan has just arrived on my doorstep in Sydney from Ireland and I can’t wait to get into it. Based on what I’ve heard and read, I think it will be a great read.
What book are you currently reading?
I recently finished About Grace by Anthony Doerr, which I loved for the beauty of its prose and the eccentricity of its story. It was a novel that forced me to slow down.
What’s a piece you really like in Issue Two?
It’s so hard to choose — all of the voices in it either resonate or completely immerse me. If I had to pick one piece that really connected me with the writer in the strongest way, it would be ‘For Those Who Can’t or Won’t Say It’ by Ken Pobo. Wow… But ‘Prey’ by Lucia Damacela took my breath away too.
Where else can we find your work?
My poetry has been published in The Irish Times, Tales from the Forest, Thank You For Swallowing and Visual Verse among others.
What’s on the horizon for you with your writing?
Next year is a very exciting year for me as my first poetry collection will be published by Salmon Poetry. This is particularly poignant for me as I really admire Salmon’s Managing Director, Jessie Lendennie, for all she has done for modern poetry and in particular women and emerging writers. It was really inspiring to meet with Jessie this year and I was completely blown away when she signed a publishing contract with me.
What song represents your writing process?
This is probably a bit cheeky, but the song is ‘Wednesday Girl’ recorded by The War Poets. The reason it represents my writing is that I wrote the lyrics — to music composed by US artist, Rex Haberman. Rex asked me to ‘make him cry’ so I tapped into the deepest sadness in my life (my mother’s death from cancer) to write these lyrics. I think that the art that affects us most often comes from that very visceral place in the artist.