The Monthly interviews poet and writer Daniela Elza – Part 3 – Inhabiting the poem.

Part two of this interview is here

When you read your work publicly it seems very lively and effervescent. What is your approach to reading your work to an audience?

If I cannot be moved by the poem, I cannot expect the audience to be moved by the poem. I look for the musicality within the writing and convey that dance to the audience as best I can. I try to inhabit the poem. I look for the particular cadence and rhythms which move me in the poem, rather than a general rhythm or style.

On some occasions I work with musicians. Clyde Reed and Jared Burrows are jazz musicians extraordinaire who have improvised with me. I find those moments exhilarating. I have always wanted to sing, and was thrilled when Jared said to me once, “Just do what you do. I hear your voice as an instrument.” My writing seems to have that jazzy flavour to it. It is likely also influenced by the Bulgarian folk rhythms that I grew up with. I hope it is.

I do think the experiences of reading the work on the page and the experience of hearing the poems from the stage are different. When I am on the stage I can only give one interpretation of a particular poem. On the page though, there is multiple possibilities.

Would it also be fair to say that while your poems might be stimulated by very personal experiences the poems can be interpreted in a number of ways?

I would hope that what I have written isn’t just reduced to my personal experience, that it investigates what connects my experiences to the experiences and stories of others. So, yes, definitely. When we write about relationships and especially about the spaces which emerge in relationships, there are lots of possibilities for interconnection and interpretation.

I also complicate things, or shall I say enrich the page experience with how the poems are shaped. When I lay out the poems on the page I score them, by splitting the words up in particular ways, through spaces and line breaks. Some of these visual elements are not available to an aural interpretation. I am yet to live up to some of those aspects embedded in my work. For that I have to develop an echo.

The Weight of Dew is available here

Milk Tooth Bane Bone is available here:

The Broken Boat is available here

More information about Daniela Elza’s work can be found here

and here –

Part four of this interview is here

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