Anthony Anaxagoro on poetry | Author interview


We are very excited that the online course is brand new for six weeks Writing poetry open for registration. Leading the tournament is Anthony Anaxagoro. Anthony is an award-winning poet and spoken word player. His poetry has been published in PoetryAnd hair reviewAnd London poetryAnd new country stateAnd Grant, and in other places. his second set After the formalities, Published with Penned in the Margins, it is a recommendation of the Poetry Writers Association and was nominated for the 2019 TS Eliot Award. It was also a file telegraph And guardian General poetry book. In 2020 publish How do you write it With Merky Books.

We caught up with Anthony to talk about poetry, the spoken word and the new course…

What first sparked your interest in hair?

I was first interested in the way language works through songs and music. I couldn’t speak English until the age of six But switching between two languages ​​made me think more deeply about the way communication works. At about the age of fourteen I started trying to write lyrics and rap verses. It wasn’t anything good, but I like to think of it as a time when I was having an emotional and intellectual response to words This means that I was exposed to poetry and concerned with what words could do when distorted.

You started gaining appreciation in poetry for your slam performance, and now you’re running Out-Spoken, one of London’s premier live spoken word events. How important is the performance aspect of hair? And how do you see the difference between page poetry and the spoken word?

I feel like I can say now (without arrogance) that I probably know these two styles of hair intimately. The spoken word for me was about aligning the poem with the rhythms of my body, vocal, and political. I noticed that when I was writing poems with spoken words, I was building them around the way I communicate with language. My agenda or mission was the priority Poetry was the medium I was going to use to deliver it. There were occasions where I would look at a poem I had written on a page and feel it was missing something, but when I got up on stage and added my body, my voice and my presence to it, the whole thing seemed to come alive. This doesn’t mean that audience members couldn’t get something from it or didn’t ask to buy a copy of the book it came from Personally, I felt I had more control over the poem and how I wanted people to experience it.

In Page’s poetry, there is a concession of power that comes from the strangeness and subtlety it provides. A kind of pluralism or openness to what readers want or expect. The best way I can think of now is that a lot of the spoken word I wrote was based on knowing what I wanted to say, while the poetic page I’ve posted since seems to tend to questions or phenomena that I don’t have an answer for. And I’m comfortable in that gray space. For me, the only major differences are how both modes use the space. One builds thought and poetic theater around the stage body and acoustics The other is centered around sound, space, pressure, and argument around white space.

Do you have any tips for nervous new poets performing live for the first time?

I don’t think I’ve ever met any writer who takes a natural approach to performance. My first few months of standing in front of strangers to read things were terrifying. Forgive the truism but I’ve found that the more I do it the more I work on what I’m saying, and how comfortable I am in silence. And finally enjoy it. If you’re having a good time, chances are the audience is.

your group After the formalities It is a recommendation by the Poetry Writers Association and nominated for the 2019 TS Eliot Award. The group plays with traditional forms while delving into themes of masculinity, racism, and family. Your personal experience of being a British-born Cypriot tells many poems. Do you know what you wanted to explore when you started composing the group?

This book (and follow up, Heritage aesthetics) It started with a series of questions more than anything else – what does it mean to be a Cypriot expatriate, a father, or a British citizen at the time of Brexit? etc. How did the 1974 war with Turkey and the remnants of British colonialism shape my identity and that of my family in both their original culture and that of Britain? My son was still a year old when I started writing After the formalities And I had a pile of things I was worried about — my ability to be a good, supportive father, my relationship with my parents and how class and violence played a role.

Those were really my interests Where I was at the time, along with thinking about the ways in which these topics overlap to aggravate or conflict with each other. I wanted to rock the ideas because I think this is a way to push thought to new ground. To direct the poems to places where there is nothing and try to convey some of the anxiety and bewilderment I felt to the reader.

What does the writing process look like when you’re working on a group?

I tend to think now that as we age, so does our relationship to the world Which means some topics become more complex, or you grow to understand the importance of nuances and care. As a result, the poems I write now tend to be the opposite So it took me more time to build a poem than I would have, say, a decade ago. Like most writers, when I’m working on a set, a project that usually lasts three to four years, I need to feel connected to the topics first. This is usually expressed through constant spiritual/intellectual discomfort, anxiety, or stress that has forced me to account for it. I write extensively over the course of a year or two, mixing editing previous poems with creating new ones. Not everything I write makes it to the end of the line. Some things I abort or lose interest in, others I throw away for parts.

I have a notebook where most of my poems begin their life. Over the course of weeks and months, I’ll jot down a line or phrase that I think might contain the kernel of something bigger. Sometimes I write lines of poems, novels or articles if I receive a response to them. It’s basically anything that energizes me. Then I’ll follow the words down to see where they take me. The overall process of writing poetry, which varies from piece to piece, is the process in which I feel fully and absolutely alive in my mind and body. There is nothing I do, or have done, that makes quite the same sense.

I founded Out-Spoken Press in 2015 with the goal of providing a platform for poets who are underrepresented in mainstream publishing. What inspired you to launch journalism, and what do you look for as an editor?

Journalism is interesting because I never intended to start a publishing house. I had been publishing my own business for a number of years until it shocked me that I had the basics to set up my own printing press (aside from distribution and financing, which came later). I was about poets who I thought were doing new and ground-breaking work in a way that didn’t exist anywhere in the UK at the time. These were gay writers, non-white poets, working-class poets whom I met through Spoken Words and who were now thinking more seriously about page poetry.

I started by putting my own money into production costs, then offering the poets a royalty rate once a tie, selling books through our website and through Amazon. The idea was to publish three books a year, which seemed manageable. But by 2017, Out-Spoken Live had grown to this large To the point where the eight of us got involved – the project turned out to be fully funded by the Arts Council of England. I thought it would be a good time to expand journalism as well, so I teamed up with Patricia Ferguson, who continues to do a great job as a publishing coordinator, to get some proper funding to increase our production and increase our resources. Over the past two years, guest editors Joel Taylor (2020-2021) and Wayne Holloway Smith (2022-2023) have commissioned several new books from their excited poets. In this way, I believe journalism stays current and fully reflects the demographics you write and produce.

What poem or collection do you always recommend to others?

I think of two books often. The first is Terrence Hayes. wind in a box Amazingly ahead of its time work. Personal poems, pop culture references, history, wild new forms…the book has literally everything I wanted out of a collection. The second is Lisa Olstein late empire, which is a newer book. She is a poet who uses philosophy, thought and lyric poetry to get to the heart of her subjects. There is resistance in the book that I love, something that is not easy for the reader But at the same time it combines so many different sounds and modes that you never feel like you’re getting the same poem twice. There is also a series of prose poems which I think might be some of the best I’ve ever read.

We are excited to have you join us as a teacher for our new poetry writing course. What is your favorite part of creating the course?

In general, I just enjoy being given the opportunity to talk about poetry, or having to find different ways to explain ideas when I touch on them. Maybe I’m reading a poem and suddenly notice something I’m trying to translate into prose so that it acts as an instruction or explanation. For me that is why I teach. Writing courses like this increase the chances of learning something new about poetry, which serves to enhance my own practice But if I had to reduce it, I would say that I might enjoy the things we like; Technical, metaphor, language coherence, etc. How poets manage to attract such disparate ideas and materials, but somehow show the whole world.

You are also the judge of the New Beginnings Poetry Contest. Do you have any tips for poets to prepare for submission?

Write poems that amaze and act in unusual ways. Try not to do the same thing over and over again You risk becoming boring and expectant if you do this. Personally, I’m drawn to poems that use interesting syntax, that play and roll on the floor, but at heart they have a complex question they’re working on. I love the poems that make me slow, which incorporate different disciplines and pull ingredients from around the house.


Find out more about New Beginnings Poetry Competition Entry by January 21, 2022.



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