How would you describe this collection?
Nostalgic would be the main word that springs to mind. Although it’s not entirely autobiographical it is heavily influenced by my childhood and teen years spent between Sowerby Bridge, a small Yorkshire mill town, and Withernsea, a rural Yorkshire coastal town.
When did you start writing these poems in the collection and how long did this body of work take to complete?
I started writing poetry back in 2018, so it’s been building up nicely since then. I’d say 2020 was my most productive year in terms of producing poetry.
Tell us about the cover design and the collection’s title?
I really wanted to call it Broken Biscuits to be honest, but there seemed to be a fair few books out there with the same title. In the end I felt like scraps paid homage to the seaside town where I landed my first job, at a chip shop – but also summarised my poetry as they’re all just small scraps of writing really – nothing too long.
What is the importance of place to you as a poet?
All I ever wanted to do was write, but I struggled finishing anything longer than a poem. I put my poor concentration down to lack of ambition and focus but was recently diagnosed with ADHD. That diagnosis helped me to stop beating myself up and to embrace what I (seemed to) have a natural talent for – short, succinct poems.
You write in a northern dialect. Tell us more about the reasons why?
I just want the reader to hear the poem as it would be performed as spoken word. I remember reading the Colour Purple about a decade ago and the thing I loved the most about it was how it was written how the protagonist spoke.
Why these poems, now?
Why not? I think poetry is becoming more accessible to people and I hope I can contribute to that. I remember the feeling of dread pulling out my GCSE anthology in English and knowing I wouldn’t be able to understand half of it. Obviously there were other people in the class who could, and who probably enjoyed it, and that’s great. But i think there needs to be an alternative option too.
Who do you consider the audience for your poetry to be?
People who don’t like poetry. People who do like poetry. Anyone and everyone really.
What experience do you want readers of your collection to have?
Just to enjoy it, maybe even think “if she can do it anyone can” and have a go themselves.
Poetry on the page, or on the stage?
Ah it depends on the poem, there’s some stuff in scraps I wouldn’t perform and others that I would.
Can you tell us something about your journey into creative writing?
It was always something I’d dabbled with and never really picked up fully. I think confidence and self belief come with age, and having the right people around you. My fiance Tash has always pushed me with my poetry and I’m really grateful for that.
Could you tell us something about your creative process?
Nothing about me is disciplined or organised, unfortunately! I tend to get a thought or a feeling and just go with it, get as much down as possible and then edit it or add to it later.
How do you feel as your debut collection is about to be published?
It’s absolutely unreal. When I was a kid, about 6, I remember saying to myself “when I grow up i’m going to write a book”. And it’s never left me really, it’s always been the one thing i’ve wanted to do with my life, and to achieve it is the best feeling ever.
Who are the poets that you admire, and why?
There’s a few – Toria Garbutt, Louise Fazackerley, Mike Garry, Matt Abbott, and of course John Cooper Clarke. I think they all just own their truth and speak it. It’s accessible and relatable.
What would you say to someone who was keen to express themselves through poetry?
Just go for it!
Do you have any plans to perform the works from this collection in public?
Yes, absolutely. I live in Wigan so i’ll be popping up at numerous places across the North West in the coming months but also hoping to travel further afield too.
Do you have any thoughts about your experience of independent publishers?
It’s really warming how nice everyone has been, and how normal too!