I recently bought Rhymes, Reflections and Recitations and Love, Laughter and Longing, two wonderful poetry booklets written by Roy Newell, a friend of mine who lives in Belfast. I’ve known him for years and, when I lived in Belfast, we often went with a group of friends to folk concerts but I only recently discovered that he writes poetry. I’ve invited him here today to tell us a bit about his poetry.
Welcome, Roy. Let’s get started, shall we?
When did you begin to write poetry?
I have been writing seriously for the past 10 years or so – I have always “dabbled” a bit but was in a very demanding day job and never seemed to have the time to devote to it. Since I stopped working 8 years ago I have been able to give it the attention it deserves.
Why do you write poetry and what inspires you?
I have loved poetry since my school days and have read the works of many poets over the years.
I started writing to see for myself if anything worthwhile emerged and found that some of my poems were favourably received. In time I seemed to develop a better sense of what is good and bad and hopefully the standard of the poetry improved.
Inspiration for individual poems is based a lot on actual experiences, emotions, funny ideas, topics I feel concerned about eg. the futility of war. Poems such as the Old House and the Zitherist are based on actual experience with a bit of poetic licence applied. Inspiration also comes from humour and there is plenty of it in this part of the world. I sometimes worry that perhaps the humorous poems detract from the serious ones but it appears that readers find the mixture more entertaining.
Do you find it easier to write in prose or rhyme? Which do you prefer?
It’s easier to write in prose. Getting the right rhyme while maintaining what you want to say can be hard work. I usually find that the subject of the poem determines whether it should rhyme or not. A prose poem can have more impact but a good rhyme can enhance the feel and the sentiment of a poem. A poem such as Sometimes would lose something if it was rhymed. However I don’t subscribe to the notion that rhyming went out with Wordsworth.
Have you any tips for other aspiring poets?
Just the following:
Don’t be put off by those who make fun or try to undermine what you are doing.
Never rush a poem – work at it until you know it’s right.
Always wait for the right word to describe something- don’t use an inferior word in haste to finish a poem – get a good synonym finder.
There is a very valuable publication which comes out annually called “The Poets Market” (available from Amazon) which, although American, is full of useful tips and advice on writing as well as getting in to print.
You donate the proceeds from the sales of your books to Parkinson’s UK. Why did you decide to do that?
I was diagnosed with a mild form of Parkinson’s disease in 2010. Mine is fairly well controlled by medication but there are many others much worse. The organisation, Parkinsons UK, provides excellent sympathetic support and advice to sufferers as well as carrying out research for a cure. When I had a considerable number of poems written a friend of mine who has a small printing business suggested the idea of printing small selections to raise money for charity.
Thanks for answering my questions, Roy. I have been dipping into both collections and enjoying your work. Keep writing so I will eventually have a volume 3 too!
Roy hasn’t set a price for his poetry collections. Instead he asks readers to decide the amount they feel is appropriate to give for each booklet. All proceeds are donated to Parkinson’s UK. If you wish to obtain copies of the collections, contact Roy at:
roynewell AT ntlworld.com.