Tuesday, 7 August 2012

In Conversation with Nicola Greenwood

Nicola Greenwood has been writing poetry for as long as she can remember and her love of language is clearly evident in her poetic expressions. Since 2004, Nicola has been performing poetry at open-mic nights and book readings. She has been published in three Shangwe anthologies supporting monthly poetry nights as Resident Poet.  Nicola continues to explore poetry in new forms and in doing so is intent on providing a platform for other writers along the way.

It's seven years since I first met Nicola at the book launch of my first anthology Brown Eyes in September 2005. Nicola had thankfully contributed her poems to the book and was at the launch with family and friends.

To say we've been friends ever since is not quite accurate because Nicola has not only developed her writing in diverse and beautiful ways, she has supported Shangwe Creative Arts www.shangwe.com over the years by helping out with book readings along with more recently working in collaboration. So it is with great pleasure that I put the spotlight on Nicola:

Nicole Moore (NM): How did your interest in writing start?

Nicola: It was always there waiting to come out. I love words, I love language and I love to communicate through creativity. Poetry was a natural rhythm for me; it's my way to paint pictures in words.
NM: When did you start writing poetry?

Nicola: I've found bits and bobs of poetry scribbles from when I was 6 years old. I started in a very conscious way when I was 18 and have never looked back.
NM: How did it feel to see your work in print in my first anthology Brown Eyes?
Nicola: The silliest thing, I ended up on page 222 and with 2 being my lucky number I was ecstatic! I then shed a little tear of joy at the fact that my name was in print. Slowly it began to dawn on me that this was very special and I felt I had left a little bit of a legacy. Mostly I felt absolutely honoured to be part of such a wonderful collection with so many amazing writers.
NM: 'Writing for the page or the stage' – Does it matter?

Nicola: For me the rhythm of a poem is simply part of its expression; poetry is for consumption in whatever form this takes. What can be read in one's head can be voiced by one's lips. It's about an individual preference - it should only matter to that person.

NM: I know that you've been performing your poems over the years, did you find this hard at the beginning?

Nicola: I'm not sure I even remember how hard it was, there was a whole lot of gin and tonic involved for starters! I read my first poem as fast as I could, my legs wouldn't stop shaking and no matter how hard it was I knew this was the first of many readings. I had spent too long itching to get up. I was in a supportive environment and I tried not to guilt myself out about not being perfect first time; its about growth and development. You can only learn on the job with this and it really does get easier over time. I save the g&t's for the end of readings these days.

Nicole Moore & Nicola Greenwood
Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden - Book Reading Event
NM: Can you tell us something about the themes and the writing process of your poetry?

Nicola: Some people tell stories, some people take pictures, some people paint. I write for the same reasons that they create. It might be a situation that captures my attention, it might be an overwhelming emotion and sometimes its just a diary of my life. I start with a few words and then lose myself in getting everything I want to say down on paper, and its rhythm seems to finds its pace as I go but after that it might take 5 minutes to edit and more often it may take years. Sometimes I need to read aloud, sometimes I share with friends to get a bit of perspective. My themes range from love. pain, angst, farting and sometimes I just paint a picture of the place I’m in at that moment; the last poem I wrote was about being in London on a Sunday, because that was what I was doing!

NM: When you write, do you 'hear' your writing?

Nicola: Absolutely - I hear before I write, I sing and dance the words in my head before they hit the page. And then if I can read it the same way it sounded in my head (based on the words, grammar etc) then I know I've got it.

NM: Nicola, can you share any tips for those aspiring poets out there?

  • Write always - a line here or there.
  • Write even when you cannot write - I have many poems about not being able to think of anything  - shortly after things flow.
  • Go back, go back, go back, you never know when that finishing touch will hit.  If you like to read your work, then others surely will.
  • Think multi-dimensionally: words (double/triple meanings), rhythm as it sometimes evokes more than your words; you are stirring emotions and you have the power to take your readers there, so be aware of every dimension.
  • Share and trust your original intention.
To view Nicola's stories visit:http://cowbird.com/author/nicola-greenwood/

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