with Roger Hare:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Roger: Creative writing has always been important to me since schooldays, mainly in the form of keeping an irregular journal of thoughts/observations. I became more intent about six years ago through contact with a community arts group near Norwich; their Facilitator/Founder Wendy Shaw was instrumental in giving me confidence to express myself. Significant writerly influences included Billy Collins, Alyson Hallett, Imtiaz Dharker, William Stafford, Natalie Goldberg and Jo Bell.
Q2: Who are some of your biggest influences today?
Roger: Rather than give a single name I’d say that it’s important for me to be exposed to the behind-the-scenes working practices of a range of creative people – poets, other writers, artists, sculptors, photographers, designers…….. I find real inspiration and craft-guidance from anyone attempting a physical manifestation of how the world makes them feel.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?
Roger: I grew up in Wallasey on Merseyside, opposite the river from Liverpool. I saw a lot of poverty, aspiration, good humour and kindness all of which must surely find their way into my writing somewhere, along with a sense that there’s life away from fashionable centres. Most consciously growing up alongside the Sea created a hole in my mind and heart that can only be filled by regular visits to the coast and writing in response to that.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work/describe?
Roger: Travels away from home that have influenced my work – the most significant would be a week’s stay on the Isle of Harris a few years ago. Exposure to the amazing, elemental nature of the place blew my mind and I hope creeps into my writing to give it a sense of glimpses now-and-then of grandeur without limits.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Roger: Five years ago I read a small four-line poem to a group of people some of whom really got the feeling I was trying to convey – the excitement to me of that moment fueled a desire to try some more!
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Roger: Walking – anywhere (town, country, wild or managed); watching cricket or American football; reading crime fiction or ‘interesting’ novels; listen to jazz or classical musical; photography; enjoying a nice meal/wine; spend time with friends; documentary tv/radio; the physical bits of gardening.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?
Roger: ? I’ve been trying to put together a pamphlet/chapbook and would like to get that nailed and accepted somewhere. I’ve had some encouragement in that direction with longlisting in a recent competition (Frosted Fire Firsts) which has given me the ‘umph’ to put a bit of effort into it! I’d like to find an affordable mentoring opportunity in the next year or so as I’ve more than a suspicion that I need a bit of steering.
Q8: A Favorite line from one of your poems/writings?
“incisions in the sky, blown
into diminishing swathes
whispering / whisper / wisp”
(From the poem ‘Contrails’)
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Roger: Alyson Hallett was an enormous help in getting me kick-started six years ago and Jo Bell has had a continuing beneficial influence. Workshop/interviews with Caroline Bird have been marvelous. Most directly over the last 12 months I’ve found the #TopTweetTuesday twitter community established by Matthew Smith (Black Bough Poetry) to have been a great help in trying out different approaches to writing………, continuing to be grateful to them all. In both practical and emotional terms I’d have to say my wife, Jo, has been and continues to be instrumental in me continuing to explore this way to express myself – thanks Jo xx
Poetry & Interview with Matthew M C Smith & Black Bough Poetry
Bio from 2020:
After a midlife rediscovery of creative pursuits I’ve been making up for lost time, giving rein to an interest in photographing things that draw my attention and putting pen to paper poetically. My inspiration is largely drawn from the historical, geological, biological & sociological layers in the world around us. Twitter @RogerHare6
Links to other writing: