Today I am delighted to welcome brilliant poet and friend Lorraine Marwood, who is here as part of her blog tour to celebrate the release of her new poetry collection, A Ute Picnic. As a poet myself, I wanted to explore how Lorraine (and her publisher) went about putting the collection together.
Welcome Lorraine. Tell us a bit about the collection. What can readers expect to find?
Now that’s an interesting question because when I’m close to such a collection as this, based on farming incidents, I had no idea how my editors were going to sort the poems. It is indeed a different discipline to arrange poems in a collection.
So diverse structure is what the reader can expect- from a prose poem to a small concrete poem, to a joke, to two word poems.
I really appreciated the way my editor placed the poems into different sections and arranged an ordered flow of topics. For example the book is divided into four sections- Past Hay season and other poems about living on the land, cow tracks and facts and other poems about animals and nature, the Front line and other poems about chance and hardship, eight rules of rodeo riding and other poems about country fun.
I was so happy that my publisher understood poetry and could echo that understanding through the naming of the sections and the grouping of the poems.
Are the poems new, or have some been published before? If so where?
A collection should reflect the poet’s ability to have the poems individually published before over a range of magazines- however this really applies to a literary collection- it’s one marker for the publisher to know that the poet is publishable! So yes a small number of poems have been published before- namely A Ute Picnic, Eight rules of rodeo riding, cow tracks and facts in School Magazine NSW. This outlet was one of the first encouragers of my poems and Ron Pretty of Five Islands Press who published two collections of my poems before this collection.
But the vast majority of the poems are new.
How does a poet know when its time to put together a collection?
Wow! Now that’s a good question. It’s time when the poems begin to mount up- say fifty poems or more over a number of years. It is more intense writing in that a poem is a short story in itself- even if it is sometimes a mini short story. I’d like to think that this collection can sit side by side with my verse novel ‘Star Jumps’.
And how do you select what to put in the collection and what to leave out?
A poem needs to have enough substance to evoke a sensory picture or to show us a different aspect from the everyday run of the mill. It needs to be a complete mini world in itself.
So when we decided on a collection with a rural theme I selected (and I have many hundreds and hundreds of poems) what I thought would work in a collection in terms of diversity and format.
My editors did the final choosing and I wrote new poems trawled for fragments (in my note books) and ideas that could be reworked.
How does the publication process differ for a poetry collection than for say, a single work of prose or a verse novel?
I think a collection is more flexible but seems to take much longer to write- over a number of years to garner the differences of style and subject matter. It probably has to work harder to attract an audience too. A verse novel is linear in narrative, a poetry collection takes little side gullies to flesh out a concept, an image, an emotion to a fuller extent.
What next for Lorraine Marwood?
What indeed? Perhaps another collection of poems, perhaps a different verse novel, perhaps a prose novel- what is for certain is that I won’t stop writing. I have lots of ideas in various stages of development- whether one develops more quickly than another is dependent upon my passion, diligence and hopefully a vision of where the idea is heading.
I will also continue to follow another passion- teaching writing- especially poetry workshops.
Thanks so much Sally for hosting today’s blog spot- I’ve enjoyed the indulgence of talking about poetry!
You’re welcome, Lorraine. It’s been great having you.
A Ute Picnic is available now online and in good book stores.
Tomorrow Lorraine will be visiting Claire Saxby at her blog. Do drop by.