A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Stephen Watt

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

Stephen: I began writing at 19yrs old and indulged in several Carol Ann Duffy and Sophie Hannah books of poetry. Duffy, especially, greatly influenced me during my twenties and then when I began performing spoken word in my thirties, it was punk poets like John Cooper Clarke who inspired my style of delivery. 

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

Stephen: I was assaulted twice when I was 19yrs old, so poetry was used as a form of catharsis. It was greatly therapeutic. I learned around this time that my grandfather had written poetry in 1937 – when he was aged 19. It made sense to continue on this path. 

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

Stephen: This is difficult to answer. Alan Carter is the editor of Quantum Leap poetry magazine who I subscribed to for the first ten years of my writing career. Robin Cairns was the host of my first spoken word event, and remains a great supporter. However, the support (and attention) given by the Scottish writing community is second to none, and has been an enormous source of encouragement over the past decade or so. 

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

Stephen: I grew up in Dumbarton and naturally it has inspired and influenced the subject matters I choose to write about. There are many social issues in the poems I write, but I always find travelling is a wonderful catalyst for inspiration and I have never failed to take notes whether I have visited Reykjavik, New York, or more homely soil. 

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

Stephen: The past handful of years have seen a rise in interest in my football poetry. I am Poet in Residence at Dumbarton Football Club and the Poetry Editor for Nutmeg Poetry Magazine (football periodical), as well as often being the reason for many of my bookings. However, I am fiercely proud of any work I choose to share – whether it is noir, supernatural, music, or afore-mentioned social matters. 

Q6. Favourite activities to relax?

Stephen: Running is one of my favourite activities for clearing the head, and until recently I also volunteered for litter-picking in my local cemetery. I also love to get into the hills and bag some munros and corbetts, but I’m a little fair-weather when it comes to that. 

Q7. What is a favourite line/stanza/lyric from your writing?

“There is something inside this club’s bones like elephant tusks and volcanic stone”.

(c) Stephen Watt

From ‘Diddy Cups’ (2018), written for Dumbarton FC reaching the Irn Bru cup final. 

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

I love punk and songs such as “New Rose” by The Damned and “Lust For Life” by Iggy Pop never fail to get me moving. I’ve also co-written a book of acid house poems and short stories with Jason Golaup called “Voodoo Daze” which was inspired by A Guy Called Gerald’s “Voodoo Ray”. However, I do tend to listen to ambient-electronic to get me in the mood for writing poems and have counted on Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin and Orbital to get me in that mindset. 

Q9. Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, projects that you’d like to promote?

I will be headlining “In Verse” at Cumbernauld Theatre on 15th September

https://www.whatsonlanarkshire.co.uk/event/108393-in-verse/

and featuring on the bill for Summer Anywhere Festival in Edinburgh on 18th September 

Bonus – any funny memory or strange occurrence? 

During my 100th gig at Eden Festival in 2014, I wore shades on stage because I was so hungover/tired. I had a great time on stage – with flaking DayGlo paint on my face which had been applied the previous day – and had a girl leap on stage to hug me while the crowd chanted my name. It’s probably been as rock n’roll as it has ever got. I had got engaged in New York a few days before and was feeling exhausted, but it did help me get through that afternoon. 

Bio: Stephen Watt is the author of five poetry collections and the editor of two punk poetry collections on behalf of the Joe Strummer Foundation and seminal-Manchester punk band, Buzzcocks. Stephen is the poet-in-residence at Dumbarton Football Club, the Poetry Editor for Nutmeg Magazine, and former Makar for the Federation of Writers (Scotland). Awards include the StAnza International Digital Poetry Prize, Poetry Rivals slam winner, Tartan Treasures award, and winner of the inaugural Liverpool Poetry Prize. 

Twitter – @Stephenwattpoet 

Facebook – Stephen Watt Poet 

The comeback kid (w/spoken word)by staci-lee sherwood

The comeback kid

Her eyes open to greet the morning
dew drops on her wings
shimmering blue sparkles
as sunlight 
gently passes over 

Wings stretched as she catches the wind
 soaring with beauty and grace  
as she takes to the sky
high above the world
free and safe
Looking for the light that guides her 
the wind gently whispers  
and catches her eye
as fluttering wings 
dance in the breeze

Once thought to be extinct her kind had vanished
only to be rediscovered
hidden away in small pockets
hanging on 
just barely

As springtime brings life anew
she finds a mate 
and lays her eggs
with hope 
for the next generation

The Atala butterfly has a story to tell
of life once lost then found again
their delicate balance in nature 
warns of peril
we should listen

Lest we forget 
how close they once came
to being gone 
from this earth
 forever


Bio: Lifelong preservationist, environmentalist and animal advocate. Published writer, blogger and poet. I write poetry for fun and investigative articles to educate and motivate people into action. My travels and passion to make the world a better place inspires my writing. I’m an avid photographer and hiker who calls the east coast home with my rescue kitties.

You can follow or contact me from my blog https://www.realitycheckswithstacilee.com/  or twitter https://twitter.com/RStacilee

Poetry by R.D. Johnson: Loss (In My Heart, On My Mind)

Losing

Our

Selves

Slowly

That’s exactly what it means

Because if we experience loss what is there to gain?

Sure the magnitude of each occurrence

Quakes you to your earth’s core

Breaking the Richter scale of our sanity

We are left with memories

Feelings, emotions

A chain of events tying together how

Light can travel through the darkness

As in reality, we are left to wonder

We are all traveling through a book of blank pages

Writing line by line

Of a story that we hope to published in the archives of the sands of time

And hope that it doesn’t succumb to quicksand

We are in the seventh month of this year

Of this decade

That continues to remind me of how precious life is

I could care less about anything that doesn’t

Attribute to peace, prosperity

And the pursuit of happiness

Aligning myself more and more

As these losses we experience will continue to occur

Its inevitable

I dedicate this piece to each and everyone of you

That has experienced a loss of any magnitude

There no words to describe this feeling

This grief

This emotion

All I can say is to be strong

Reflect on the good

And as unbearable as it will be

Your life will continue

Be strong for them

I just know that they’ll be in my heart

On my mind

Right on time

All the time