The Monthly interviews UK National Slam Champion, Rick Dove – Part 2

Part one of this interview is here

Were there any major influences in your writing or your performance style?

I have had a very eclectic experience with poets and poetry that it is possible for me, in one piece, you could see the influences of different poets in different verses. And while there were plenty of influences, I was always aiming to find my authentic voice.

To me, my work is based around the idea that it should be delivered as if I am speaking to my friend in the pub. It should have that level of easy-going intimacy about it. If it is written that way it is much easier to deliver and I think you have more chance of achieving what you are setting out to do with a particular piece.

How did you develop that style?

I think the process of writing and editing is crucial. I tend to start with pieces which are way too long and through a process of editing and constant repetition and listening to ensure that the rhythms work throughout the different elements of the poem.

I also tend to look over, quite obsessively, the tone, the ideas, is there a consistency in terms of the key points. All of that gets you to the point where your live work takes over and you hone the poem through performance.

I think that I also bring in to my live work the kind of material that would be influenced by the more traditional styles I started off writing when I was a teenager. Many of those more traditional approaches, the traditional use of language, work really well when performed live.

Where to now?

Winning the UK Slam Championship has been good for me and I will be touring a fair bit next year, and I will also be part of curating poetry at some festivals later on in the year, working on a poetry show for Wandsworth Arts Fringe in South London in June and working as Co-Artistic Director of Spoken Word at the PBH Free Fringe in Edinburgh in August. I still have my day job but poetry is becoming more and more something I am committing a lot more of my time to. .

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