Poet, Paul Brookes, is a great supporter to other poets and features them frequently on his website The Wombwell Rainbow. Therefore it gives me great pleasure to welcome him back to Patricia’s Pen.
Today Paul has come along to chat about his brand new pamphlet, As FolkTaleTeller, published by Impspired. I for one can’t wait to get hold of my signed copy. Without further ado, it’s over to Paul.
Othernesses of “As Folktaleteller”
I set myself writing challenges. Like a lot of folk I am fascinated by folklore. What fascinates me? The dark, mysterious, quirky and unusual. I plump all those together under the heading “Othernesses”. And I want to know what it is like to be that otherness. How would they speak? How would they see the world around them? So when I saw this hashtag #Folktober, I wanted to know more.
#Folktober is a monthly challenge for artworkers. They are challenged to create an artwork a day in October. Some folk on their create lists of folklore/mythological characters. I challenged myself to take one of these lists as a writing prompt.
Now I take a left swerve with this. For a forthcoming collection called “Othernesses”, which is out to possible publishers at the moment, I researched Les Murray’s zoopoetics. A fancy term basically meaning how he wrote “about” animals. He didn’t write “about” them as that suggests a “looking at” as opposed to “looking from”. He wrote from their point of view. Out of their eyes, using their senses to explore the world. “Othernesses” takes the point of view of insects, arachnids and so on.
This is what I wanted to do with the characters in my collection “As FolkTaleTeller”. Dangerous territory. Like getting into the mind of paedophiles and serial killers. A point of view that could alienate a lot of readers. Getting into the minds of what folk call “monsters”.
How do you inhabit the mind of someone or something else? The fancy term for it is “personification”. Getting into another’s headspace, more than that. Their sense spaces. What would they touch, taste, hear, see, smell? How would they process it? I know this can get gross, but illuminating, too. I believe all have a unique perspective on the world. We love to know what makes folk act the way they do. Is it through reasoning, out of impulse, or a combination? It fascinates me.
What form would the writing take? Well, ever since Ian McMillan asked me to write an advent sonnet a few Christmases ago, I write a sonnet a day. See it, as like a five-finger exercise for a pianist. I settled into writing Shakesperean sonnets because that was the form I chose originally. The strict form of ten syllables per line, 14 lines, three quatrains and a couplet exercises my mind. I admit I am crap at metre. I read it aloud, and if it sounds right, I keep it. And it is useful to break the ten syllable lines into five syllable phrases. After a while some of the phrases in my head, automatically were ten syllables long. That was a surprise!
In a sense, writing first person is like an actor getting into character. I hope you, dear readers, can feel yourselves taken in by these figures, no matter how monstrous.
Thank you to wonderful Tricia for giving me this opportunity to spout about my latest collection.
It was a delight to feature you again, Paul, and I’m excited to read your brand new pamphlet. Writing in first person, as you know, is always my prime point of view. There’s nothing like stepping into character whether it be a person, tree or bird. Good luck with your new collection.
If readers fancy finding out more about Paul Brooke’s brand new pamphlet, and want to know how to order a copy, pop over to Amazon here.
About Paul Brookes
Paul Brookes is a shop asst. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. First play performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews, book reviews and challenges. Had work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 The Verb and, videos of his Self Isolation sonnet sequence featured by Barnsley Museums and Hear My Voice Barnsley. He also does photography commissions. Most recent is a poetry collaboration with artworker Jane Cornwell: “Wonderland in Alice, plus other ways of seeing”, (JCStudio Press, 2021). Forthcoming: “These Random Acts of Wildness”, Glass Head Press, 2022.