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Stu Hatton - Poet Series

By Justwrite @must_write
Stu Hatton - Poet Series
 StuHatton is an editor, writer and reader, currently based in Melbourne,Australia. In 2006 he was awarded a mentorship through the Australian Societyof Authors, which he completed with the late Dorothy Porter.When did you firststart writing poetry? What do you enjoy most about it?I’ve always been drawn to language that is strange,unsettling, magical, impossible. And for as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyedplaying with language, exploring its possibilities and flaws. This love oflanguage-play began before I could write. As a child I tended to create storiesand songs as opposed to poems, and I loved Lego. Perhaps in a way poetry tookthe place of Lego. The latter probably left its mark on me in various ways: akind of faith that anything can be constructed from anything, the possibilitiesof construction and collage, combining fragments in unlikely ways. So poetry isa form of play for me, which doesn’t mean it isn’t vital, political, spiritual… it can be all of these things.Tell me about thefirst poem you had published. I had a satirical poem about the film Jurrassic Park published in the school magazine in year 10. It hada line in it about ‘converting to Spielbergism’ or something. I have to laughat my 15-year-old self there.What is your usualwriting routine? Do you write every day? Yeah I pretty much write every day. I tend to do most of myreading in the morning, and writing often sparks off from what I’m reading. Icarry a pen and notebook most of the time, or else I type notes into my phone.I’m always collecting words or phrases to use later.What advice would yougive a would-be poet?To experiment with different practices of reading, writing,thinking, questioning. Try anything once. Break habits, be flexible and try tocultivate open-mindedness.What’s your opinionof self publishing? Would you recommend it?I self-published my first book How to be Hungry through the print-on-demand service Lulu. I’drecommend self-publishing if you’re prepared to be a hardworking ambassador foryour work. Do you perform yourpoetry? What are the differences between writing for the page and writing forthe stage?I’ve performed my poetry publicly many times, though not somuch recently. I guess I’ve tended to see myself as writing for the page more thanthe stage. Sometimes I’ll adapt a poem slightly for performance, perhaps ifthere are visual aspects, puns or other elements that might not be conveyed byvoice alone. One thing that can irk me as an audience member at poetry gigs isthat if you miss part of a poem, that’s it: it’s gone. The mind wanders, thereare distractions, sometimes you can’t hear every word due to the poet’sdelivery or other sounds intruding. Listening to readings takes a certain kindof discipline. Not to take away from the possibilities of mishearing, or only hearingfragments: these are interesting possiblities if you’re open to them. Butgenerally I prefer to be able to sit with a poem, consider it, put it aside andcome back to it. Or in the case of recordings, to be able to play it again,hear it again if I want to. So I’m interested in forms of performance that gobeyond simply reading a poem. Performance poetry goes beyond ‘simply reading’,but I guess I’m mostly interested in multimedia performance, video poetry, etc,where oral and visual text can be combined.Have you beeninspired or influenced by a particular poet’s work? How did it affect your ownwork?I’ve given this some thought, but it’s very hard to pickjust one! I’m inspired and influenced by countless poets. In my late teens itwas Eliot, Yeats and Cummings. Then I discovered the Beats, then as anundergrad I gravitated towards the New York School and Language Poetry. I guessI’ve tended towards the experimental/avant-garde end of the spectrum in termsof finding models for my practice. John Cage is definitely an inspiration tome, as is Gary Snyder – both, in their own way, pull down the fence that’s sometimeserected between art and life.If you had to choosea favorite contemporary poet who would it be and what makes them your favourite?Once again I find this almost impossible to answer! I havetoo many favourites I guess. In terms of contemporary Australian poets I’mdrawn to, and who are maybe operating in similar ballparks to me, here’s a list(though I’m probably forgetting a few people): Patrick Jones, Pam Brown,Michael Farrell, Jill Jones, Laurie Duggan, Ted Nielsen, Tim Wright, KenBolton, Emma Lew, Astrid Lorange, Derek Motion, Peter Minter, John Tranter,Ania Walwicz, Lionel Fogarty, Joanne Burns, Martin Harrison, Paul Hardacre, KeriGlastonbury, Neil Paech. What about themasters? Who would you choose and why? Okay, for this one I’d have to say William Blake. Poet,painter, printmaker, prophet. His legacy is fascinating, illuminated, sort ofinfinite. Perhaps more so than any poet who has written in English, he brokefree of the ‘mind-forged manacles’ of his time. That is something to aspire to.Could you please sendme a favorite poem of your own to be published on the blog? How to be Hungry,published 2010, available through Lulu.com: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/stuhattonAudio poem ‘power ballad’ on SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/wordy/power-balladTwitter: @StuHattonFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/stu.hattonWeb: http://www.stuhatton.net

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