Guest Feature – Alan Parry

I’m delighted today to introduce poet, Alan Parry to Patricia’s Pen. Alan is also the editor of poetry press, The Broken Spine. Today Alan blogs about his own writing.

My Writing

Alan Parry

Writing about my own writing is something I often find challenging. But when Patricia offered me an opportunity to discuss my work, I figured I ought to give it my best.

Anybody who has followed my writing career, such as it is, may have heard me discussing my need to write before today as being born out of an inability to create anything of any worth in any other medium. What I’d give to be a talented singer-songwriter or painter! I write because I cannot do these things. What is more, I write poems because I cannot write good comedy. I have fallen into writing poetry, because I wanted to, no I needed to create something that would live after me. I had hoped that my creative output would have a wider appeal, like music and visual art often does, or that I’d leave behind a classic sitcom – one for the ages. This wasn’t to be.

However, over the last four or five years, since I have taken up writing poetry with a view to getting my work published and getting my work read I have developed a style, of sorts. In penning my debut collection, Neon Ghosts, (The Broken Spine) written between 2018-2019, I found my voice. I was listening to a lot of jazz, reading the Beats and the New York poets.The musicality of this work seeped into mine, but I worked hard to spin it with a distinctive northern Britishness. I likened the short, vignette style poems from that collection to the paintings of Edward Hopper. My work from that period seemed to capture a highly stylized, faux-Americana.

I have since published my second solo collection, Echoes (Rare Swan Press). Echoes has some similar stylings to my earlier work, and is distinctly mine. However, my focus switched from imagining a lost America to reimagining my familial memories. It is an autobiography, of sorts. It reveals much more of me to my readers; is far more honest and personal. This gear shift was wholly intentional, as I do not think it is sustainable to write purely those noir style poems for which I was becoming known (although I do still find room for those every now and again). As my writing further develops, I find myself attempting to write longer form pieces of flash fiction, short stories and CNF. I feel as if my feet are barely touching the sea floor sometimes, but I believe that discomfort is a positive thing. I think I’m a better writer than I was when I started submitting work, I’m confident of that. Things do not happen in my writing by accident any more. I’m a more rounded writer, capable of much more nuance. But that early voice will never completely disappear.       

About Alan Parry

Alan Parry is Co-founder / Editor of The Broken Spine. In 2021 Alan formed the collective The Southport Poets, a collaboration with Paul Robert Mullen, Mary Earnshaw and David Walshe. Their debut work Belisama was published by Dreich in 2021. Alan’s debut collection Neon Ghosts was the first book to be published by The Broken Spine. In 2022 Parry released Echoes with Rare Swan Press. He is currently working on two new titles.



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