Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Interview with poet and writer Erynn Rowan Laurie

 Erynn Rowan Laurie is a writer, poet and professional madwoman inspired by the early Irish poetic tradition and the place of the geilt, the mad poet in Irish myth and literature. In an interview with Jory Mickelson  she explains why for her the creation of a poem is a sacred act; why she has chosen not to follow the usual grammatical structures; how landscape and art influence her poetry and why birds appear frequently in her poems - all worth reading about.

Here's an excerpt:

"If we consider poetry a form of sorcery, then sound sets the mood and pattern for the spells being woven and the realities being created. Some poems have a feeling of breathlessness and rush to them, while others build slowly, layering on their power with repetition and emphasis. In these poems [in her book Fireflies at Absolute Zero], capitalization can signal a shift in the power being touched and directed, the choice of a line or stanza break might place a breath as effectively as any comma or period.

In translations of the Greek magical papyri, there are words capitalized as voces magicae, as words of power, that stand out from the text in an emphasis of their potency, and these words or strings of sounds might be recited or chanted in ways distinct from the rest of the text, lending them a particular sense of uncanniness. My poem on Abraxas borrows a couple of these words - ARAI, LAILAM - and in the recitation of that poem those sounds seem to come out of an abyss of magical vibration.

Sometimes, when the sounds and the words are just right, I can feel the hair on my arms rise when I recite them aloud. For me there is a liquidity in non-traditional structures that's very appealing, and I find it easier to tap into that electricity, that potency, when I use those techniques."

You can read the full interview here on The Literary Magpie blog.