Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most now and currently?
Clive: I write mainly poetry but also short stories. I went through a very creative period in my early twenties when I was heavily influenced by Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Freud, Richard Brautigan, ee cummings, and Leonard Cohen and Charles Bukowski. I worked as a journalist for 30 years but took redundancy at 50 and went to university where I studied the Marxist/Anarchist poet Sean Bonney.
Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Clive: I’m 64 now and have been re enthused by modernist poets such as Sean, Tom Raworth, Doug Jones and Adrianne Clarke. I owe a great learning debt to the London group of experimental poets Writer’s Forum.
Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?
Clive: Too many people really but two in particular. An English teacher at my secondary modern school, Ian Bell, who introduced me to offbeat writers such as Brautigan and my university tutors, particularly my Master’s Supervisor Keith Jebb, himself a London poet.
Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Clive: I grew up in Ruislip and was always terrible at football and other manly pursuits but even as a youngster I read and wrote poetry, but sort of stopped in my journalist years only to rediscover it at uni.
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?
Clive: It is yet to be published in full but is a 16,000-word prose poem called ‘Shadow Reel’ which has had sections published in Otoliths and Blackbox Manifold. I attach part of it if you want to use some.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Clive: Listening to rock music, writing and reading. I am a great Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa fan – I think they are both genuine geniuses.
Q7: What is a favorite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing?
Clive: An irony of unemployed/walk into the bar
Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that come back to you as an inspiration?
Clive: Dylan has just been an almost lifelong inspiration to me. Then again I also appreciate Rod Stewart. Sad Eyed Lady of The Lowlands comes to mind. There’s the constant debate over whether or not Dylan is a poet – I think songs like that settle the argument. Also Visions of Johanna.
Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, projects that you’d like to promote?
Clive: My most recent books are three chapbooks with erbacce press ‘Strings’ ‘Atoms’ and ‘Spaces’ all of which have had good reviews in Tears in The Fence and Litter.
Bonus Question: : Any funny memory or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey?
Clive: When I was about 19 I wrote a short story about talking and violent furniture and sent it to Ambit but it was rejected which put me off sending stuff out for ages. A few months ago I wrote it up again and it was used by Cafelit and put in their ‘best of’ book.
More Poetry Inspired by Leonard Cohen from R.G. Evans & Clive Gresswell
Poetry Showcase: Poems DNA by Clive Gresswell
Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Anthology available today!
@gresswellclive on twitter