The Monthly interviews a young New Zealand poet, Elizabeth Ayrey – Part 3 – The direction of travel

part two of this interview is here

What about the movement of poetry online, from postings of poems on social media to YouTube videos. Is that something which interests you?

That isn’t really the direction I’m moving in. For me, it’s a lot more rewarding to have something physically published because my starting point was a love of books. Just having a poem on the page, that’s a really nice feeling. I’ve always been encouraged to enter poetry competitions and the aim is to have my work published.

When I was younger it never occurred to me to try and build up my own online presence. It was all about reaching out to people and getting things in magazines.

Would you be headed in a more academic direction?

Well, that is something I’ve thought about actually and I think I really despise the whole ‘poetry is inherently academic and elitist’ thing that comes with writing for the page. I will say though that I do want people to be able to understand what I’m writing. I think you have to make sure people can connect with your poetry. You’re always trying to make it relatable in some way even if it’s nonsensical in other ways.

Beyond that, I’ve always written with friends, I’ve always been surrounded by peers when I was writing my poetry. When I go to poetry nights, there are plenty of like-minded people, so I don’t feel that what we do is antisocial or inaccessible.

Do you have any influences?

Someone that comes to mind first is Helen Rickerby. I just really love her style and the way she draws on classical references without being pretentious about it. A spoken word poet I enjoy is Sarah Kay. I love the way she delivers emotion and she has this way of capturing feelings you wouldn’t even realize you had. When I read her work I find that I can really relate to what she’s writing about, but it wouldn’t have crossed my mind to put those ideas into words.#

Helen Rickerby

Where to now?

I’m looking to get my work published in local poetry journals and ultimately I want to work towards publishing my own collection. I just really want to have something written by me that you can hold in your hand and read. That was where I started and that’s what I’m working towards.

part one of this interview is here

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