A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Charlotte Oliver

with Charlotte Oliver:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Charlotte: I started writing poetry as a little girl, inspired by my mum and my grandma reading delicious rhyming poems aloud to me, like The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes – that one used to thrill and terrify me, and I loved it! I carried on until after university but stopped as life got busier and I’ve only returned to it in earnest this past year.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Charlotte: Most recently, Roger Robinson, Wendy Pratt, Tony Curry, John McCulloch, Clare Shaw, Robert Frede Kenter, Anna Saunders and Elisabeth Kelly. They’ve all written incredible words that never seem far from my thoughts at the moment.

Audacity Of Form by Robert Frede Kenter – IceFloe Press

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Charlotte: I’ve lived in Liverpool, London, Suffolk and Brazil but Scarborough has always been my true home and I adore it; the sea, the tourists, the ghosts of its grand past, the empty beach in Winter – it is endlessly inspiring!

Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Charlotte: Always the poems I have written for my husband.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Charlotte: I’ve always been creative but the crunch came a few years ago when I was sitting at my desk job in the NHS. I knew I was losing myself and my excitement at the world (and everything I could see was beige!). I heard myself resign and here I am, poorer but fulfilled.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Charlotte: Being outdoors, preferably by or in the sea.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Charlotte: I’m very exited to have had a poem accepted for Ice Floe Press’s Pandemic Love and Other Affinities anthology which will be out later in the summer. I’ve also got a few other things out there that I am hoping for news of very soon…

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Charlotte: My poem Bee, starts ‘Flying crumb of tiger’. I’m proud of that.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Charlotte: Wendy Pratt’s (@wondykitten) courses and mentoring has been invaluable to me, as has the Word Central gang’s warmth and welcome each month at their Zoom poetry evenings. Every act of connection with the lovely poetry community has helped me move forwards and, of course, my ever-patient and wonderful husband.

Links:

(Twitter: @charlotteolivr        insta: charlotteoliverpoet)

Poem by Charlotte Oliver :The Cleaning of my Heart

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Charlotte Oliver

3 new poems by Charlotte Oliver “Nobody Knew” “As Perseus” & “You May Write Me Down in History”

https://charlotteoliver.com/

https://www.1handclapping.online/post/charlotte-oliver-a-poem

https://icefloepress.net/2020/11/22/a-poem-by-charlotte-oliver-with-a-photograph-by-robynne-limoges/

Poem by Charlotte Oliver :The Cleaning of my Heart

The Cleaning of My Heart

A big suction slurp and a pop as her bran tub-reach retrieves 
my memory of tutu dolly lying on the aubretia – 
pink&green&purple – such beauty only paralleled to 
my kitten self by mum, hair tonged and eyes shadowed blue. A 
quick wipe over, she stuffs it back down to the bottom, and blind 
fingers stumble on, sliding  over and through decades of me 
heaped on top of each other like a bucket of shells. She 
pulls out shapes and colours, some unrecognisable for a 
moment, others accessed more recently – the temperature 
of grandpa’s hands, the clatter of the button tin, loneliness. 
Some have fused from long association so she 
handles them more carefully, others are just crumbs – microscopic 
starbursts filling dark spaces between – which she gathers up 
in a metal tray and empties straight back in. I am surprised 
by how many pairs of shoes have found their way inside it, a 
structure I surely should reserve for things that matter more, warm 
shame as I remember there are shoes I have loved more than 
some people but after a good polish, they sit back in 
more comfortably. She lays a lot of what she finds out on the lawn, 
so many neat rows of reasons for who I am that after a 
while I am giddy and light, an empty plastic bag 
waltzing with the wind through an endless sky.When she has cleaned 
and replaced everything, I realise that there is room for more. 


Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Charlotte Oliver


Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Charlotte Oliver

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Charlotte Oliver is a writer who lives by the sea in Scarborough, England. She was the commissioned poet for BBC Radio York’s Make a Difference campaign and has poems published or forthcoming in Spelt, Dream Catcher, Pendemic, Ice Floe Press, Cold Moon Journal, Poetry and Covid, The Daily Drunk, Nymphs and Thugs, Neuro Logical, One Hand Clapping, Poetry Pea Journal andNot4UCollective’s Poems from Home. @charlotteolivr charlotteoliverpoet on instagram

3 new poems by Charlotte Oliver “Nobody Knew” “As Perseus” & “You May Write Me Down in History”

Nobody Knew

Nobody knew that deep within her
there lived a tiny bird.

She felt its wing against her sternum
the tips of its thrumming feathers
on the dull xylophone of her ribs.

Sometimes the fluttering was so fast
she felt as if it was trying to escape
the protection of its bony cage
and she wondered what would happen if it burst out –
where would it fly to and
how would it survive?

The gentle rhythm of pedaling her bike through an – orange Autumn day
seemed to calm it
and it fell asleep entirely when
she rocked her babies close
or listened to his snores in the velvet silence
of the night.

As Perseus

Time passes and my careful choice of tools
(pen, inclination, mood)
is cast aside
replaced by bare hands,
fingernails grow filthy
clawing through layers of life
to deep memories
dead skin cell chrysalids, paper-thin, unused.
Some I smile to view,
others even now are pink raw-nerved, best left until
time has scarred skin over double-thick.
My experience
a stretched wide ribbon
of textures, smells and sounds,
now framed and gallery-hung,
I pass by like a visitor,
stand and stare, find details
I’ve never seen before.
I force my gaze through taut surface into frozen moments of happiness and pain,
a surgeon opening my own heart,
and am surprised by how much more I can stand
and how strong I feel to shape them afresh with scoured words
barbed wire tears help me
to better feel the soft warmth of
gentle-pillowed peace.

You May Write Me Down in History

(first line from Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise)

You may write me down in history
and my averageness
will strike a discordant note/clang in the harmony
of greatness
like a stone in a sieve of sunset lentils,
or the grit in a glowing sea of pearls
without which
they would not be there at all.

You may write me down in history,
a brown crumb of Christmas pudding
in a pile of shiny coins,
immortalised for keeping the house quite clean,
feeding others adequately,
being satisfactory,
no prize specimen,
rarely picked
but necessary
so others can shine brighter.

Perhaps if you write me down in history
others destined for the middle
will be glad to see that their lives
have precedents,
connections
and are necessary colours for the spectrum.
They can be satisfied
and not have to chase
a dream.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Charlotte Oliver