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Kevin Gillam - Poet Series

By Justwrite @must_write

Kevin Gillam - Poet Series
Kevin Gillam: is a West Australian poet with three booksof poetry published,  "Other Gravities"(2003) and"Permitted to Fall"(2007) with Sunline Press, and "Songs sulG" in 'Two Poets' with Fremantle Press (2011). He has also had twochapbooks published with Picaro Press, "shouting, drowning" (2006)and "closer to now"(2009). He works as Director of Music at ChristChurch Grammar School.
When did you first start writing poetry? What do you enjoymost about it?
My first poems were written while studying creative writingat Curtin University (Post Grad Diploma) and I enjoyed the succinctness of theform and the fact that it could be left open to a variety of interpretations.
Tell me about the first poem you had published.
The first poem I had published was an extract from a shortstory that I had sent to Grok, the Curtin Uni newspaper. They had taken aportion of the story and printed it in the poetry section. So I thought that ifthey liked the excerpt as a poem, then I should concentrate on this type ofwriting.
What is your usual writing routine? Do youwrite every day?
Yes, I write every day, and my routine is to collectlines/thoughts and then talk them through in my head on long walks. Uponreturning from a walk, I immediately write down the lines concocted, and thenlater deduce a form.
What advice would you give a would-be poet?
Write down all your thoughts as they come to you….you won’tremember them later. Read lots of contemporary poetry. Join a writing group orassociation and write/share ideas. Send out poems to journals. Subscribe to asmany poetry journals as possible. Try reviewing some recent poetry and sendreviews to appropriate journals.
What’s your opinion of self publishing? Would you recommendit?
I’m not against self-publishing, but I wouldn’t recommend itto any aspiring poet. Better to get your work published in some reputablejournals and enter some poetry competitions. Then you have an established andcreditable body of acknowledged work to send to a publisher.
Do you perform your poetry? What are the differences betweenwriting for the page and writing for the stage?
Yes I do perform my poetry, sometimes with ‘cello musicspliced between the lines. Performed poetry needs to be immediately accessibleto the listener (no chance of re-reading or re-hearing!), and needs to embracethe mood and emotions of the performance and surrounds as much as rely purelyupon the text.
Have you been inspired or influenced by a particular poet’swork? How did it affect your own work?
One of my favorite poets is Sylvia Plath. I love the waythe poems live on the edge of literal meaning and symbolism, and the use ofdiction is superb. I try to emulate this in my own work, leaving a poem open toa number of readings.
If you had to choose a favorite Australian contemporary poet who would it be andwhat makes them your favourite?
I don’t have a favorite Australian poet,but I read a fair amount of Australian fiction including work by RichardFlanagan, Tim Winton, Gail Jones and Peter Carey.
What about the masters? Who would you choose and why?
I would have to include Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Porter andSeamus Heaney. All three use language and form to intensify to poetic intent.

Could you please send me a favorite poem of your ownto be published on the blog?

the unwritten blue was first published by Fremantle Press in 2011. The poemtracks some thoughts/ideas/images from a holiday in Nannup, and was an attemptof mine to embrace a more ‘prose-like’ feel in the poetry. It was awarded 1stPrize in the Reason-Brisbane Poetry Award in 2010.
    the unwritten blue
remember, in that bruised light – we haddozed in  the loft of the A-frame, wokenthen walked – the tuarts browning skyward,warblers
  and wagtails flitting – you were talking about that book ‘Life of Pi’- then the river, fat, whitefroth,  moving left to right as if having been read.
I don’t remember who noticed the dead birdfirst,  one wing pointing skyward, the unglazed eye.a bush parrot, burnt red and khaki plumage
  already being reclaimed by bracken. you went to touch it,saw an ant, pulled away. we were silentthen,   hushed by fate and its casual cruelty,
late afternoon painting in charcoal aroundus.  re-tracing our steps, a symphony of drips and burps from rain and frogs, you on about
  slivered moons and life and fiction andnarrative’s tidal pull. it was then,  in that falter in your voice,
that staccato within legato, that youhinted  at some loss deeper than sense.that night, in the warm cusp of the A-frame–
  the tropical triangle we called it,pot-belly below having been going all day –  you told me about your twin sister that
died at birth, how some days you saw her   as a bird, flying above andahead, calls ofkinship or warning, other days as the sky,
  how you’d noticed, out walking and looking up,that while the gates and letterboxes andgardens stayed still,  the clouds and unwritten blue moved with you
Kevin Gillam - Poet SeriesKevin Gillam - Poet Series
Other Gravities Sunline Press 2003shouting, drowning (chapbook) Picaro Press 2006Permitted to Fall Sunline Press 2007closer to now (chapbook) Picaro Press 2008songs sul G in ‘Two Poets’ Fremantle Press 2011(Last two books available from The Lane Bookshop and PlanetBooks)

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