A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Annick Yerem

with Annick Yerem:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Annick: I can´t really remember when I started writing, what I do remember is that it was always encouraged, as was reading. My first influence were definitely my parents, who instilled in me the love for books, for words. Then Sarah Kirsch, Peter Härtling, Astrid Lindgren, Margaret Atwood, Samuel Beckett.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Annick: My biggest influence is anyone who writes, paints, draws, makes music, films, any kind of art and continues to do so. I am in awe of all of you.

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

Annick: I was born in Japan, then moved to Scotland and after that to Germany, where I have now lived most of my life. The influences came from those countries and from growing up with two languages. I feel most at home in Scotland and I feel most at home speaking and reading English.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Annick: Maybe on a subconscious level, but not to a great extent.

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

Annick: This reminds me of a quote by Thomas Bernhard: I am not a writer, I am someone who writes. It felt like an identity for a long while, simply because I was writing and doing the work. Then for almost 20 years it was gone. And now it´s back again and I am nurturing it and taking it seriously. So that moment was actually just about 1,5 years ago.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Annick: Walks with my dog are a big part of my life and I love these walks, I often write in my head while walking. Reading and unashamedly binge-watching series such as Borgen, The Great British Bake Off, Grey`s Anatomy, Unforgotten, Catastrophe. Baking. Films. Dancing. Singing in the car.

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

Annick: I just had the most wonderful experience working with @theopencollab. Check out what they do, you can watch and listen on Youtube  https://opencollab.co.uk/14/annick and support them on Ko-Fi.

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

Annick: `that a piece of glass is as soft as the milky way`. It´s the opening line of my poem `Things I cannot tell my children`. The first poem I ever wrote in English and the poem I wrote after almost 20 years of not writing, so it means everything to me.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Annick: So many people have helped me along, I would love to give credit to them all, which is not possible here. First of all, Ankh Spice. Ankh was my mentor from the beginning and quickly became a dear friend. Sarah Stockton, Aoife Lyall, Christina Thatcher; Bev Schofield, Adrienne Hannah, Tara Skurtu, Pippa Marriott, Valerie Coffin Price, Wendy Pratt, Giovanna MacKenna, Sandra Birnie, Susan Jack, Britt Doughty-Godchaux, Damien Donnelly, James Diaz, Matthew C. Smith, Gaynor Kayne, Claire Marsden, Lisa Mary Armstrong, Mark Davidson, Lindsey Heatherly, Tanya Shadrick, Tara Fatehi Irani, Kate Dowling, Beth Brooke, Rhona Greene, Lynn Valentine, Stefanie Rixecker, Sarah Connor and many more who I am so grateful to.

Twitter: @missyerem





A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Lisa Mary Armstrong

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Lisa: I’ve always been an avid reader. My mum would take us to the local library every week which I loved. I read a lot of Roald Dahl and Enid Blayton when I was younger and then moved on to the “Sweet Valley High” series by Frances Pascal and “The Vampire Diaries” when it wasn’t as well known. I was bit of a romantic soul and starting writing teenage love stories in my first year of high school which probably weren’t very good.

Q2: Who is your biggest influence today?

Lisa: I am an eclectic reader and it needs to move me. Right now, I am a huge fan of Louise Peterkin whose debut collection “The Night Jar” is simply stunning. I love Mary Oliver, Dorothy Molloy, Tishani Doshi is a tremendous talent and my good friend Elizabeth M. Castillo writes so beautifully. Being the romantic that I am and having an appreciation for the Spanish and Greek language I just melt when I read the likes of Neruda and Cavafy.

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

Lisa: I grew up in a small town called Johnstone which is in Scotland. I do tend to write about my childhood as we lived near the countryside, and I have very fond memories of Lochwinnoch where I spent a lot of time with my nana.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?

Lisa: I have traveled all over Greece and it’s a country that I love to visit. I’ve always been interested in Greek mythology and how women are represented in Greek myth so it does feature a lot in my writing.

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

Lisa: I suppose I’ve always wanted to be a writer because I don’t believe there is anything better out there than seeing something you’ve created come to life on a page. I didn’t get into poetry until I was much older. I’ve only been writing poems since December 2020 when lockdown happened.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Lisa: I grow roses and enjoy getting out into the garden. I play the piano and music has always been such a big part of my life. I’m also a mother of five so that keeps me on my toes and relaxing isn’t something that I’m able to do often.

Q7: Any recent or upcoming promotional work?

Lisa: I’m working on my first collection and have a few poems that are due to be published in The View Magazine which provides a platform for criminalised women and campaigns for social justice https://linktr.ee/The_View_Magazine

Q8: Favorite lines from your poems/songs, or favorite piece from another?

Lisa: My favorite line is taken from a Mary Oliver poem “Tell me what is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” She had such a wonderful way of looking at the world and her poetry helped me through some really difficult times during the pandemic. I emerged with a greater appreciation of nature and felt more connected to the world.

Q9: Who has helped you the most with writing?

Lisa: I think just having the support of the poetry community and having my work published has really spurred me on and great journals like “Fevers of the Mind” provide a wonderful platform for poets of all ages and abilities like me. I love my Twitter friends in the poetry community. Elizabeth M. Castillo is just a phenomenal writer and genuinely one of the most beautiful and supportive people I’ve ever met. Elizabeth Bates who runs Dwelling Lit is another kind and gorgeous person, Anisha Kaul, Annick Yerem and Zahirra Dayal. There are just too many to mention.

2 New Poems by Elizabeth Castillo : New Start & Black Dolls for Christmas

3 Poems by Anisha Kaul : “At the Dead of Night” “Flight of Tragic Wings” “A Commotion of the Holy Ones”

Bio: A writer/poet/mother living in Scotland. A big fan of Greek Mythology and feminist reimaginings, old Hollywood Actresses/films, the theatre, ballet and music. I’ve always written creatively for the catharsis and only started tinkering with poetry in the pandemic. My inspiration comes from poets such as Mary Oliver, Carol Ann Duffy, Emily Dickinson, Sappho, Anne Stevenson, Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Molloy, Derek Mahon, Dylan Thomas – the list is endless. To read more about Lisa go to her website at https://lisaarmstrong2179.wixsite.com/website