Caroline Stockford

Caroline Stockford

Interview with Caroline Stockford, whose poem ‘Me and Bob in Barmouth’ is in Issue Two. See her recite it below.

Why do you write and what do you hope to achieve in doing it?

I write poetry, stories and plays because I feel free during the process. It feels as if you can re-write reality and you have a chance to bring issues to people’s attention that they may not normally wish to think about.

What are the major themes found in your work?

Politics, nature, you know . . . global generalisations.

What influences and inspires you most?

Other people who make art every day. Generous people who share their process and are not selfish or precious about their work. People like artist and poet Willem Boshoff and musician Anton Newcombe (from whom I’m quoting the words ‘make art every day’). Both are immensley hard working, visionary and generous about their process. I’m also inspired by Sue Jones-Davies, a local actress (Life of Brian) as she’s a tireless activist in her community. She’s always on the go, always positive and had an inspirational outlook on life.

I also get ideas for poems by going for long walks with my lurcher, Leon.

What not-very-famous writers should we check out?

Rhys Trimble is a good Welsh poet, I like the way his whole life seems to revolve around poetry and he’s not afraid to try all sorts of experiments with sound and visuals.

Check out ALL local poets, writers and artists in your community by going to their spoken words events – that’s the best way. Support the local arts – or start your own event and invite all your local artists and performers.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m reading and translating a novel about the Kurds in Dersim in the 1930s when there was a massacre and all the men and boys were marched into exile in other parts of the country. It’s called Butterfly of the Night by Haydar Karataş and is, quite frankly, the saddest book I’ve ever read. They’re surviving on acorns alone in the chapter I’m currently reading, which makes me quite depressed as you have to inhabit the characters as your translate them. It also makes me value my meals at the moment!

What’s a piece you like in Issue Two?

I like a lot of the content, but particularly like two poems:

‘Small Deaths’ by Heidi Seaborn – I like the humour, a lot. And her line-breaks.
‘Spirits’ by Jim Trainer – This poem is mysterious, sad, concise and just really evocative. There’s space in it for the reader to imagine the story of the people involved and a lot a history is simply told in well-chosen, but few words.

Any background info to your piece in Issue Two?

‘Me and Bob in Barmouth’ is about an imaginary meeting between Bob Dylan and my 13-year-old self in a cafe in my home town. I heard ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ when I was 13 and then went on to borrow all his albums from the people I babysat for and love his lyrics and tunes.

The poem was written in August 2016 (before the Nobel announcement!) on a residential poetry course at Ty Newydd, with tutors Patience Agbabi and Jonathan Edwards. They ran really great workshops and this poem arrived fully formed during a workshop with Jonathan. I think the Ty Newydd and Arvon courses in the UK are brilliant for advancing the craft of writing poetry.

Where else can we find your work?

You can read my translations of Turkish poetry at estoniacordfrock.wordpress.com.

What’s on the horizon for you with your writing?

More of it. I write short stories and ten minute plays too. I am developing a ten minute play into a full length version. It’s about a woman who is an activist and is put under a verbal curfew of 800 words a day for one year. Her daily word count is monitored by an electronic necklace that will give her larynx an electric shock once the maximum is reached.

I translate and perform Turkish poetry and write poems in English whenever they visit.

Got a quote you really like?

I have hundreds of quotes I love. I’m fascinated by ‘Writer’s Advice’ lists. My favourite (and shortest) piece of writing advice is by José Saramago, the Portugese writer, who said,

‘There are two rules to writing:
One: Sit,
Two: Write.’

What song represents your writing process?

Find Caroline on Twitter @cevirimiz.

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