Interview with Robert Warrington

Why should people download your e-books?
Because they're works of latter-day genius, obviously. Also, they're dirt cheap. I'm making my back catalogue available for a sum which belies its jewel-like brilliance.
Are you going to e-publish your plays?
Maybe. I wrote a lot of poetry, and a lot of prose, before I ever got around to writing a play. Most of my early work's still in my own archive, so I think I'm going to start with that.
Why now?
I don't think there is a reason, except I'm getting long in the tooth and the technology's available now. The question really is why not now? If not now, when? I could just keep sitting on this stuff but what's the point?
When did you write Poems of Fear and Desire?
When I was twenty four. I was on a postgraduate course. I worked on it when I wasn't doing coursework.
Where was it written?
In a seaside town on the Welsh coast. I lived in my landlady's house. I wrote most of it where I lived, in a rented room on the top floor.
What was going on in your life? What was the emotional background to the book?
It was fraught. My stepfather was dying in England. We'd had a very difficult relationship. There was also a woman in the mix, who was also in England. I kept hoping for some kind of sign from this woman but I knew deep down I was clutching at straws. Plus, I felt I had no real aptitude for the course. That feeling kept growing as the course progressed.
Was poetry your main form of self-expression, at the time?
It was pretty much my only form of self-expression because I barely spoke, but it wasn't the kind of material I wanted anyone else to know about. It was part of my secret world.
Why was it so important to you to keep it a secret?
I found it too embarrassing to share, partly because it was so autobiographical. I was trying to move away from autobiographical writing. I was fascinated by what Blake had done in Songs of Innocence and Experience. I was looking to relocate my own poetry in an expanded, more metaphorical world. That was my ambition anyway, but my reach exceeded my grasp.
Why do you say that?
I ended up with something that was a sort of halfway house between the Blake idea and the kind of poetry I'd always written. I was dissatisfied but I didn't know how to fix it. Then the course ended and my landlady put the house up for sale, so I just had to pack my poems into my suitcase. It was one of those periods that had a very definite beginning and a very definite end.
What happened then?
To the poems, nothing. I put the work aside, thinking I could fix it later. I moved on to another sequence of poems then I diverted into different kinds of writing. It was a long time before I got back to it, and by the time I got back to it, it was no longer fixable.
How do you mean?
I'd sort of realised by then that you can't always fix things, even in art, particularly if too much time has elapsed. You're no longer the same person who conceived of the project. In this case, the things that are unresolved are partially a reflection of what was unresolved in myself at the time of writing. If I tried to fix it I'd change it, and if I changed it significantly I'd lose the essence of it.
If you didn't fix it what did you do to it?
Resolved niggles, mainly. Made certain improvements. The only real change I made is to try and take a more positive view of the material. Even if it didn't accord with my original plan, that didn't necessarily mean it was a failure. If I hadn't succeeded on my own terms I might still have succeeded on someone else's terms.
What's the next book you want to put out?
Probably Anti-Gravity Girl. It's a collection of poems written just before the ones in Poems of Fear and Desire. Again, at the time, they were horribly personal, but I'm now far enough from my old material just to see it as material. I've made my peace with it, more or less. It doesn't even embarrass me anymore.
Published 2016-03-06.
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Books by This Author

Poems of Fear and Desire
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,250. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » U.K. Poetry
This is the first e-book collection by the British poet, playwright and singer-songwriter. It contains over fifty poems.