1) Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and what is the theme, mood? Or If you have a blog or project please describe the concept
of your project, blog, website
Stu: My latest book is my third collection of poetry, titled Blue, the Green Sky. I would say the theme is similar to the rest of my work – things that aren’t there, things that you want to be there, the
way childhood affects your adult life in ways you never really understand, the vastness of space and the endless quest for an answer to the questions that matter the most. I have moved away
from confessional poetry in the last few years and this new book actually contains my most varied work. It has two much longer pieces which I would say are still poetic but constitute a
progression of the themes and ideas I always deal with, allowing them to flourish into different
styles and themes. Does that make sense? That seems very pretentious.Stu
2) What frame of mind and ideas lead to you writing your current book?
Stu: My mental health has got a lot better the last couple of years, which runs alongside the abandonment of confessional poetry. I have become much happier but also much more curious.
am obsessed with death – the ways we die, what lies beyond, whether we deserve to die. To me,
the idea of outer space and death have always been linked. When you read that stars are made up of the same basic thing as humans, you can’t help but be inspired. I want to believe that when we
die we go somewhere beautiful. I want to believe that I deserve to go somewhere beautiful, and in the last few years I have begun to understand that if that place does exist, I need to work a lot
fucking harder at my life. I am not religious, just confused.
3) How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?
Stu: I started writing as a way to cope with things I didn’t feel I had a handle on. I am an ex-addict and
someone who has suffered greatly with mental illness. So my first attempts at writing were, I
think, the same as a lot of peoples. Catharsis disguised as verse. Something screamed inside me
and the only way I felt I could handle it was by writing. This was probably ten years ago now,
maybe a little more. So that was when I discovered what writing could be. In terms of
progression, I’d like to think I have got better. Beyond that, I think it is just wonderful that we can
write things down and people will read them.
4) What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?
Stu: Huge fan of Andrew McMillan. I have worked with him in the past and he is not only incredibly talented but extremely lovely. His first two books, Physical and Playtime, are classics and the two
best books I own. When I first read his work, I felt like he was writing specifically for me. About me. Poetry and art is subjective and I wouldn’t say there is a league table of poets. But if there
was, he’d have won the title by Christmas. Music wise, I love folk music, specifically 60s and 70s folk rock. I listen to almost anything, although I cant listen much to deep house anymore because it reminds me of the embarrassing
amount of drugs I used to do.
5) What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and
often become parts of a poem?
Stu: Jigsaw Puzzles are my latest obsession. I tend to become obsessed with things. I love reading of
course. At the moment I’m working through the Discworld series which is fun. I first read them
when I was too young to understand the satire, so reading them again has been great. I do watch
some television, but mainly nonsense programs like Battlebots or Bob’s Burgers. I used to watch
2 films a day but I live 10000ft up a mountain and we can’t stream anything. So it’s crap TV or
nothing. We have two dogs, one a puppy, so we walk a lot. Its a 35 minute round trip to the
mailbox here. Stupid really but once it snows its impossible to get up the drive.
6) What is your favorite or preferred style of writing?
Stu: I like free verse. I dislike rhyme or constraint. I started out writing haiku and tanka which was a
great way to learn about making the most of a few words etc. but now I just go for it. I dont often
edit. I am writing my second novel at the moment and I find a routine is useless for me. I just
sometimes feel like writing. I can write 4000 words in 2 hours or I can go a week without opening
the laptop. My life has got a lot less chaotic in recent years but I like to think I will never have a
writing routine. That is one step too far.
7) Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence
Stu: I have traveled all over the world. So I write a lot about the places I have been. My current
writing project which I mentioned above is half travelogue, half gay love story. I guess both those
things are important to me. I’m not gay. Just confused. I also write about childhood a lot and how
we see things differently when we haven’t been exposed to the strains of adult life.
8) What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?
Stu: Someone messaged me on Twitter a while back telling me they read my work when they were sad
and it helped. So that is definitely rewarding. But I am human, so I also love when people retweet
my work or buy my books. My wife is an amazing writer so when they like something I have
wrote I know I am on the right track.
In terms of frustration, I don’t tend to get frustrated with my work too much. It comes or it
doesn’t. But again, I am human, so when I spend time writing something and I feel people have
not engaged with it to the degree that I feel it deserves, that is a negative. I don’t submit my work
much (2 or 3 times a year) so rejections aren’t something I have to deal with much. Not because I
am a good writer but because if you don’t submit you don’t get rejected.
9) How has the current times affected your work?
Stu: I feel like I was really well equipped for the pandemic. I don’t honestly miss anything except
maybe eating out. So my life hasn’t changed a great deal. I feel like I have been more productive
than some people during the lock-downs. I have written well over 100k words split between
projects. So I would say, weirdly, that I am thriving personally. I have also started a lit project,
Bear Creek Gazette, which is a fake newspaper set in a fake town. Its been brilliant to see the
responses and submissions for it. People have really got behind it. Its weird and sometimes
offensive. Which is what people crave when times are hard. Well, its what I crave anyway.
10) Please give us any links, social media info, upcoming events, etc for your work.
Stu: My book is out later this year, in one of the J months, on Broken Spine Arts.
You can follow me on Twitter, where I basically live, @stuartmbuck
Bear Creek Gazette has a website. Its welcometobearcreek.com and the Twitter is @bcgazette