Bluewrens, Post-pastorals and Musical Justice: An interview in New Welsh Review (online) 97

Published : Tuesday, September 04, 2012 | Label:

New Welsh Review has just posted a long Q & A I did with poet Kath Stansfield:

Starting with “Margaret River Sestets"—a West Australian poem by an East Coast Australian, which recently won the Cardiff Prize—we range wide and dive deep: metaphor, eros and play in lyric poetry; the wild music of poetry and places; how one catches the lyric, joins the jazz, of places, and why that still (more than ever maybe) matters; pastorals and post-pastorals and odes; the ethics and aesthetics and politics of writing the betrayal of nature we have all been complicit in; birds, those latter day, everyday divinities; blue wrens, in particular; poetry as a conversation with and over time; the way one’s writing voice is a choir of all the voices one has read and loved; and poetry as resistance, as a conservation of language and a critique of power and shallow-rooted certainties.

Kath, a fine poet and novelist, led me into some interesting places (ecological, biographical and aesthetic), and the interview may, for all I know, throw more than a little light on this poet and his poetics. I found myself thinking some new thoughts and rethinking some old ones. It was good to be asked to talk a little about the birds that seem to fly my poetry, no matter how hard I try to leave them in the trees, and I was glad to put in some time again as an ecocritic—speaking a word for wildness, ecological imagination, justice and freedom in the human, and the more than merely human, world(s).

It’s a pretty substantial interview, so pace yourself.

Thank you, Kath. And thanks to Gwen Davies, the editor of NWR, a wonderful literary journal. Please check it out.


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