A Conversation with A The Poet
S: So, Amanda, it’s so lovely to meet you here at Starbucks, near Warren street- just around the corner from The Old Diorama Arts Centre, thank you for joining me.
A: Happy to be here. Hehe!
S: I am really interested to know how your poetry is going generally.
A: Yeah, really well! I've got an event coming up, my second live event at the Bush Theatre, really excited, and that is called ‘Poetry & Me’, where I interview other poets from different walks of life, and they tell me about their poetry, what brought them to poetry, and they get to share some live poetry for a live audience.
S: Amazing. And turning that back to you: What brought you to poetry?
A: It was therapy, in a sense. So I started journaling at 14 on the back of grief.
And I didn't know it was poetry at the time. It was just journal entries.
And then I came across death Jam, spoken word poetry, and then I realized there were similarities in the flows of what I was writing in comparison to all
I was hearing, so I then just…went with it!
S: A natural segue?
A: Yeah! And just carried on. Carried on with the flow.
S: And how do you feel that your sessions at Russell Actors - you’ve obviously been with us for about 18 months - how has that affected your performance in poetry?
A: I think it's made me come into my own a bit more, like, you learn a lot of techniques with regards to performing and they’re very much transferable skills, so, like how you stand and how you breathe through the lines, and how you engage with the audience through the words that you're saying; when you should take a pause, when you shouldn't take a pause, and kind of believe in the words-even though they're my words- connecting with my words more. Like, tuning into the emotion I first felt when I wrote the words, weeks later when I'm performing them.
Yeah, Russell Actors has definitely helped with that.
S: Love that. And so, you wrote a brilliant piece of poetry for your piece in the Plays Festival last year: ‘Lost Connection’, about a potential murder on a train. How did that feel, sort of channeling your story into a poem?
Did it feel any different to your usual method of writing poetry?
A: Yes, I think it was easier, really, because I knew what was going on.
I wasn't just going off of an emotion that I'm feeling on my own. I've noticed that I write better when there's a clear brief, and there's a clear objective as to what the story is. I think I sometimes get more overwhelmed when I'm writing based off of my own emotion, because they feel so heightened and so overwhelming that I don't know if I'm doing it justice, if I'm conveying it correctly, and if the person reading,
or hearing it understands what I'm feeling? Whereas when you're doing it for a brief it's clear what you need to write.
Yeah, you just need to make sure you get the story, and then make it rhyme a little bit and then ta-da! Do you know what I mean?
S: Ha, ha, ha, ha! You’re giving away all your trade secrets.
A: Hehe! You can have that for free.
But, yeah, no, it reminds me why I like to write, because it's literally telling stories.
So I really enjoyed that aspect, because it was setting up the major themes of the story that we were telling. And it was the first thing that the audience heard which is quite insane in itself.
S: So, because it was the first thing we heard, did you find it hard to not give too much away?
A: Yes, but at the same time, no, because I feel like poetry can be quite ambiguous.
But then it's a really great way to build that suspense and put the audience into a different mind frame, like going from ‘Prawns’ for example in the show before ours…
A:…to then introduce the idea of this nomadic figure trying to find his place in society.
S: Yeah. I loved that opening.
A: Thank you for pushing me to do that. I appreciate that.
S: Well I am always one to take advantage of somebody's skills.
S: I don't mean to take advantage of-Ha, ha, ha!
A: Push to use, encourage to use.
S: -and hold space for, and get over excited by!
A: Yes! Hehe. Which isn’t a bad thing at all.
S: Exactly. Well, thank you so much for being here, and I look forward to interview you again this time next year to see how things are going! And of course, we’re all really looking forward to your event!
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