Her new book A Ute Picnic has just been released and she’s going to talk about how to put a poetry collection together.
Lorraine has had her poetry published in many literary magazines in USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand- a haiku in Japan, Cricket in USA, School Journal NZ, School Magazine NSW and Pearson magazine and of course many literary journals in Australia including Island, Southerly, Westerly, Overland, Going Down Swinging, Poetrix.
Lorraine, How difficult was it to come up with enough poems for a collection? Did you have some written already on a theme, and then created others to fit it or were they all created from scratch?
A good question- a mixture of all those possibilities really. Because I’ve been writing poems for at least 15 years, I had fragments, ideas and complete poems waiting to be gathered together into a theme based collection.
Can you tell us about the process of putting together your collection? For example, how did you choose which ones to include? Did you think of the theme first?
Because I seem to be a poet at heart when I began to be published with Walker- Sarah always knew I wrote poetry and loves poetry, so that is a big plus to begin with. The idea for a collection had been gathering momentum for awhile now and especially a farm based collection. The lynch pin of the collection is the prose poem A Ute Picnic and once this was in place the rest of the collection grew around it.
Do you have any tips for someone wishing to put together their own poetry collection?
Yes, try and be published in some different ways first- like journals to show a prospective publisher that you have done an apprenticeship and that your poetry can be published. Read other collections and see what sections they have included- is the collection one theme or a conglomerate of topics? Try and be known as a poet – enter competitions, go to workshops, submit work to magazines and journals. Read poetry, try different formats for poetry writing and be patient – poetry is a hard genre to be published in.
What was the most enjoyable part of putting together this collection?
Reliving surprising moments- being thankful that I kept a writing journal, telling myself that I need to continue keeping a writing journal. Working with two editors who appreciated and understood poetry, that was an immense bonus.
What was the hardest part?
Keeping the momentum going. This project has been dangling for a couple of years. I had to be prepared to spend chunks of time on re-writing- making sure copyright was mine on the few poems that have been published elsewhere, and writing completely new poems from a journal entry; for example the joke poem in the collection.
Write as much as you can, even a few lines may later grow into a satisfying poem. Read new and well established poets, enjoy the change from idea to tingling poem that mysteriously occurs. Don’t be hard on yourself, the more you write, the more your writing muscle will respond to the poetic demands.
Read your work out loud- listen to its rhythm- even though I don’t rhyme- although please note there are rhyming poem in the collection. I can hear inside my head now if the poem doesn’t sound right.
Many literary magazines in USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand- a haiku in Japan, Cricket in USA, School Journal NZ, School Magazine NSW and Pearson magazine and of course many literary journals in Australia including Island, Southerly, Westerly, Overland, Going Down Swinging, Poetrix.
Thanks Dee for your wonderful questions- I hope many poets and writers find inspiration and encouragement from the answers- thanks for hosting me today.
Thanks Lorraine for so generously sharing your writing journey and your tips with us this week.
Your new book, A Ute Picnic is a beautiful collection and I’m sure it will be enjoyed by poetry lovers everywhere.