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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: Steven Fletcher


 
As a mature student, 47 years old at enrolment, I have found the BA Creative Writing course to be a life enriching experience. It gives students the opportunity to hone writing technique, to develop drafting and editing skills, to understand the creative industry and the writer’s relationship with it. It has been three years well spent.

The course focuses on the main genres of writing. In the first year narrative theory supplements the three core workshop modules of poetry, scriptwriting, and the short story. The workshopping discipline of drafting and editing is always at the forefront of study. The student is continually encouraged towards writing fitness, through practice and discussion. Work is processed in a positive environment.

 The tutors are all established, published writers, experts in their own genres and disciplines. They offer practical support, as well as directing students towards texts that advance and help develop understanding of all aspects of the work. This balance sustains and nourishes the student throughout the year; not only when meeting assignment deadlines.

The emphasis in all the modules is on independent learning and reading. This is developed through tutorials, workshops and peer appraisal: around twelve hours a week contact time is added to regular development meetings with personal tutors. Research and preparation for each session is demanding but garners best results from workshop discussions.

Furthermore, I was delighted, but not surprised, that Edge Hill was awarded the tenth Times Higher Education Awards University of the Year, 2014. It has been a joy to study there and be instructed by an enthusiastic and vibrant team of writers. It is a great university to study.

 

Waterloo: Midnight Vista

 

Barrel it back from Blundellsands,

breeze over the Seaforth span with

 sodium arcs, straff beam guides. Flash

passed a familiar vision: 

Bootle (most bombed British borough).

Who knew? Who knows, Who cares? Coded

freight containers, steel box mountain

fabrications, never fails to a

maze: colossal toy blocks, fairy

decking lights, skeletal structures

crane. Not gnomic but simple: roll-

on, roll-off. Turbine guards twist winds

power, translates kinetic to stored.

 

Hospice, October, 2013.

 

Wasteland, edge land, liminal place

 
An atrium entrance, temporary, cramped

filled with flat pack, chopped chip office furniture.

 

Visitors sign in, sign out, regulated. 

Spend time condemned, celled in comfort able

oblivion. Angers well deep pop observed silences.

 

Where, today or yesterday, I spoke to a childhood

giant, that life valued times mine equals half this measure.

Exits stance, weight for cellular replicative immortality

sustained proliferative signals wait for space and the line...

 
 
No body comes here to die,

the palliative stroke care team like to say.

Accumulated mutations, carried by control protein P53,

strain relations, causing love’s loss, and end scene.

Void, filled by smells of absence, disinfects and sickening, body functions fail.

 

Reminds me of metastasis: bowel, to belly, to brain. Meditate

watch opiate bliss drip in. Activated invasions beat back

blasts of radiation, induce angiogenesis growth factors.

Corrupted structures multiply, triumph, evading growth suppressors.

Wall-tacked, religious iconographies smile down benignly

eye red read The Yagé letter’s, appendix six: cathartic, euphoric vision, vibrant

                                                                                    energy unites all...pop! {:-(

 

Through a glazed view note

grey bibbed squirrelous creature

stripping sapling bark         

 


Poetics

As a writer I am interested in the paradox of poetry. My poetry has an inherent conflict between self expression and the egotistical ‘I’. I am not interested in the ‘genius-of-poets’ concept.

I am more interested in the tension between the line and the sentence; less in meter, or rhyme scheme. I am more interested in the line break, its relationship to the clause, the sentence, the rhythms it creates and the pattern possibilities. I am more interested in the turn of the line; more conspicuous line tension. Rhythmic qualities excite me.

I am quite interested in challenging formal, received and accepted wisdom. It is difficult for me to battle a tendency towards declamation and epiphany. I am less interested in messages.

I am more interested in investigation into the use of language to confuse and obfuscate; language as a refusal to communicate or to deliberately misinform.

I am really interested in poetry as ventriloquism. Utterances conjuring, voicing the voiceless, offering polyphony. I am more or less interested in figurative language like the mist on the glass or the sun rising. I am more interested in metonymy and juxtaposing binary opposites: smashing bits of language together.

Poetry as performance is interesting except when it is not. I am interested in avant garde as kitch. That is enough already, more or less. 

I am more interested in poetry as response to other cultural artifacts, literature, visual art and music. I more interested in reference to the artifice than to the illusion of it.

I am interested in slips, accidents and mistakes. Poetry that makes no sense, poetry  of sound and concrete is interesting.

To clarify my interest in ambiguity: I am.   

 I am more interested in language appropriation (transgressive), re-frame and montage; less interested in making it up as I go along. All poetry is more or less interesting to me. Why restrict oneself to a writing ghetto, when there is so much of interest.