This is not a Sunny Poem – Interview Caitlin Maling
Caitlin Maling is a young poet from Australia and already had her work included in Best Australian Poems 2012. She has published poetry around her country in magazines and websites such as Quadrant, Blue Dog, Going Down Swinging, Voiceworks, Text Journal and the Sun Herald Extra. In 2009 she was the winner of the John Marsden Poetry Prize. Two years later Caitlin attended the Varuna Writers Centre to work on her first collection with the help of a Varuna Fellowship for Writer’s Retreat. She is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry at the University of Houston for which she received the International Student Scholarship from the Department of Culture and the Arts WA. Her collection, Conversations I’ve Never Had, is forthcoming from Fremantle Press.
WIDBOOK – At this moment you are in an artistic residence in Yaddo. Can you tell us about the work that you are currently writing and how a residence can help a writer in the creative process?
CAITLIN MALING – I’m currently working on two major projects, both poetry collections. The first, Conversation’s I’ve Never Had, is forthcoming with Fremantle Press, so I’m just finalising the editing and arrangement of the poems. I find residencies very useful places to edit, there is something about taking my work to a completely new and unfamiliar location which helps me have fresh eyes for my poems.
The second collection, provisionally entitled Dispatches, is much rougher.My major poetic interest at the moment is place. Another transported Western Australian writer John Kinsella has questioned what it means to be a poet of place when you are located outside of that ‘place’. He speaks of how this geographic displacement led him to a technique of palimpsetting one landscape over another. I have started to develop a new section of work looking at the landscape of Western Australia (my home) over the land and people of Texas (where I live now). Being in residence at Yaddo allows me to engage the unfamiliar landscape of Saratoga Springs in my writing. Further, I am interested in speech and its interaction with landscape. Being located for an extensive period in a different cultural space, among dialogue of other artists and the local population offers an invaluable opportunity to map different dialects into my work and study its hybridity with Australian language.
WIDBOOK – Do your remember your first poetries? How did your poetry has changed since those days?
CAITLIN – My first poetry was terrible angsty and grandiose, I was a teenager after all. Over time I’ve moved away from lyric meditations on emotion towards narrative. These narratives are also frequently not personal narratives, while in my early poetry I was definitely the speaker in my poems, I’m enjoying the creation of other speakers, other characters, in my newer work.
WIDBOOK – What’s your perception about this contemporary moment of the poetry? Can you realize any connection between new poets` styles?
CAITLIN – The American poetry landscape is very different to the Australian one. In my work as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast, I read thousands of poems submitted and there do seem to be some trends. The big trend I’ve noted is of artificiality, where the reader is always being made conscious that the poem is a constructed thing. In Australian poetry there is still very much a commitment to what I guess you could call authenticity.
WIDBOOK – Is there any major reference from any author that you can note in your verses? Could you tell us your favorite poets?
CAITLIN – I was influenced a lot by Charles Bukowski when I was starting out and the narrative poems of Raymond Carver. Now I draw a lot from fiction writers, specifically the Australians Tim Winton and David Malouf (also a great poet) in how to bring a story together. Judith Wright is probably the poet I go back to the most, she can weave colloquial language and lyric description together in a way I am envious of,
WIDBOOK – Do you have any tips for the writers who are just trying to write their first poetries?
CAITLIN – There is no right and wrong way to write poetry. Read as widely as you can to see what you like but don’t feel the need to replicate it. Think about what interests you personally, anything can be a poetic subject. Finally, it’s important to have other writers to show your work to and to get a sense of what’s currently being written around you.
WIDBOOK – Are there any website where we can find your poetries?
By Jr. Belle