A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Dean Rhetoric

Bio: Dean Rhetoric is a working-class poet currently living in Manchester. His pamphlet, Cancer [+Pop Punk] is available now via Broken Sleep Books. His debut full-length collection, Foundry Songs, is due out February 2023.

Q1: When did you start writing and who influenced you the most now and currently?

Dean: I started writing short stories and song lyrics when I was about 13. I was mainly influenced by lyricists, especially Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz who wrote the songs for one of my favourite bands, Bad Religion. I loved J.D. Salinger as well, and Stephen King. The usual.

Now I mainly admire poets like Natalie Shapero, Ingrid M. Calderon-Collins, Wayne Holloway-Smith and countless others who are currently/have been on the Broken Sleep Books roster.

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Dean: I had to write an essay for my Religious Education class at school. I couldn’t remember what the theme of the essay was meant to be, so I just scribbled out some random story about dogs forming a cult and enslaving humans.

I got in a lot of trouble over it, but every time a teacher read out a few lines of it they’d burst out laughing. I was failing every class apart from English Lit, so I think it just all clicked.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?

Dean: That would probably be the friends and peers who are comfortable enough with me to give honest feedback on drafts and things like that. I think every poet should have at least one mate they can rely on to push them a little further and say ‘you can do better than this’.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your work? Have any travels influenced your work?


I grew up in Hereford and lived there until I was about 25. My forthcoming full-length collection Foundry Songs has been hugely influenced by growing up there, and my 8 years there as a foundry worker.

I live in Manchester now and have always considered it home. I can’t really afford to travel. I’ve had one trip abroad my whole life. But I was fortunate enough to go to Edinburgh a few years back for the Fringe Festival to do a few gigs and they certainly inspired some poems.

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?

Dean: Probably my poetry pamphlet, Cancer [+Pop Punk], because it was such an experimental idea and I’m proud of the fact that all my royalties go to a charity that supports young widows. It was rewarding to see how others interpreted it.

In fact, Colin Dardis wrote a really insightful review of it for you, which meant a lot to me.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Dean: I’m not good at relaxing but if I want to let off steam or enjoy myself, I’ll either watch pro wrestling, take a long walk, watch a film, or write. I’m probably happiest when I’ve got nothing to do but write.

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza/lyric from your writing?

Dean: I feel like a right big head posting lines I’ve written that I think are good. There’s a poem in Foundry Songs called ‘Me and my Big Fuck-off Nose’ where I describe my septum as:

Swollen to the point of Agoraphobic sundial

I’ll cringe that I even answered this at all, but let’s go with that one as it’s the last poem I looked over when proof-reading.

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or song that always come back to you as an inspiration?

Dean: I mostly listen to punk rock, Motown, film scores, and the usual cliché stuff that poets listen to. Joanna Newsom is great too. I return to Automatic for the People by REM a lot, and it plays a huge role in Cancer [+Pop Punk].

And yes, I’m aware that REM isn’t punk pop!

Q9: Do you haven recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc. that you would like to promote?


As I said above, Cancer [+Pop Punk] is available now and can be purchased here. I don’t want to guilt trip anyone into buying it, but if you don’t purchase a copy, it basically means you hate charity.

Foundry Songs is my debut full length and its due out February 2023.  I worked very hard on it, and it would be great if people grabbed a copy.

And just to promote some other people, I’ve recently been reading Obligate Carnivore by Stuart McPherson, Salt & Metal by Sallyanne Rock, and The Whimsy of Dank Ju-Ju by Sascha Aurora Akhtar. They’re all fantastic collections that I highly recommend.

Review: Cancer [+Pop Punk by Dean Rhetoric (review by Colin Dardis)

Twitter: @dean_rhetoric

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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