Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most now and currently?
Sarah-Jane: I’ve written illustrated stories and poetry as far back as I can remember. The first was about a family of rabbits – I was about four. It had no words but all the rabbits had different patterns on their trousers. My biggest influence is probably old-school poetry forums. I’m a bit wary of mentioning these as their workshopping can be very brutal, and hit-and-miss (you need a thick skin to survive and I wouldn’t recommend them for everyone) but places like Poetry Free For All were free and accessible resources for me when I was otherwise isolated, very short of money, and raising two small children.
Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Sarah-Jane: Yes! When a colleague at work talked about my ‘lack of creative practice’ as a put-down. I thought inwardly ‘I have got a creative practice’ and I started to look where I might submit work for possible publication.
Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?
Sarah-Jane: Besides the myriad people on old-school poetry forums and lovely poets and artists on twitter, I have a group of close poet-friends whose work I admire. We meet to discuss poetry and life weekly, and their help is invaluable. Also, there were a few kind editors back when I was just sending off work that took time out to give me a couple of lines of valuable advice, sometimes about the poems, sometimes about my bio. Small things, but they helped. And being part of a super-lovely, super-talented poet/artist twitter community.
Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?
Sarah-Jane: I grew up in a tiny, tiny village in the middle of nowhere with my Mum (who didn’t drive). My Dad was frequently away travelling. It was only when I went away to college that I realised not all shopping trips took place monthly, and things like all-night-garages existed. I thought all-night garages were magical. I’d stay up until midnight to buy a Kit-Kat just because I could. I think growing up surrounded by so much nature programmed me to look at colours, scents and sounds in a close way. I developed a very vivid imagination. Also it was quite boring so I read an awful lot!
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?
Sarah-Jane; Probably my first ever ‘series’ of visual poems that ‘worked’ cohesively as an idea – erasure poems based on a late (19 scientific diary/set of observations which created imaginary constellations. Making them taught me how to move between analogue and digital techniques, and to work in a sequence.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Sarah-Jane: Drawing and reading. I don’t do a great deal of conscious relaxation. I work and work and work and work, then I sleep.
Q7: What is a favorite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing?
Sarah-Jane: ‘Bad cleverness in the artist’. It’s ‘found’ text from an early (20 technical guide to calligraphy.
Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?
Sarah-Jane: I play artists I like on repeat. It changes according to what I’m working on, but at the moment it’s usually Loma.
Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, projects that you would like to promote?
Sarah-Jane: I’ll be collaborating again with the fabulous Renee at Rare Swan press soon. And I’ll be bringing out a short-print run artist book with The Ethelzine in 2023. I work at Hereford College of Arts and I’ve some tiny accordion books and lots of images and video/audio on show at our staff showcase now (the private view is today) so if you live near Hereford please drop in!
Bonus Question: Any funny memory or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey?
Sarah-Jane: Collage brings with it a definition of strange. I once spent a morning sticking teeny-tiny lightbulbs onto a variety of teeny tiny insect derrières.
Please include any links, bio, a photo to be posted on the website.
Bio: Sarah-Jane’s work is inspired by fairytales, nature, psychogeography and surrealism. She uses bricolage to explore the space between real and imagined; creating alternative narratives as small acts of resistance. Sarah-Jane’s work can be seen in various journals, including Waxwing Literary Journal, Rattle, Petrichor, Sugar House Review and Iron Horse Literary Review. You can find her on Twitter @Sarahjfc or on her website at www.sarahjanecrowson.art