Poetry could change the world: An online interview with Glen Still
Dupur Mitra: Do you think poetry plays a role in your society? If yes how and if not why?
Glen Still: I think poetry is a contingency to certain people at certain times in society. I’d like to say that poetry is the one element that can harness awareness, but I know that is seldom the outcome. The people that read poetry, read it because they sort of need to, the ones that don’t – don’t read it because they don’t want to be taken to places outside of their daily agendas.
Dupur Mitra: Is illustration important in your poems?
Glen Still: Not really. I don’t see visuals when I’m writing, but I do see what I’d like the poem to encapsulate to others. I have a tendency to read my poetry to myself in the cadence and structure that I wrote it in, with the desire and intention to instill and pass onto the reader, what I intended the poem to say, feel and demonstrate.
Dupur Mitra: Why is poetry important?
Glen Still: Poetry could change the world in so many different ways if people (especially poets) realized that the articulation of word is the essence of creating change. I don’t think we as a civilization have arrived to that perception. I’m counting on the next generation, or one close thereafter, to be in tune with that reality.
Dupur Mitra: How does a poem begin for you – with an image an idea or a phrase?
Glen Still: Normally, it begins with a combination of a word and a natural selection of words that follow in such a way that I know I’ve got a poem in embryo. Something distinctive of what I want to portray within the piece. I call it the “anchor thought”, which I can build on – sometimes just minutes, or sometimes days. Writing poetry has never been a chore for me, it comes natural. It’s like – I was meant to do this – so this is what I am going to do.
Dupur Mitra: How do you edit your poems?
Glen Still: I normally don’t like to edit my first drafts. However, if I stay on the piece, re-reading, speaking it and acting it out in the ear of the reader, I may edit a few things. But in general, editing for me is not a factor of my writing. It’s more of an “on the fly moment” that I experience with the piece. I have edited older pieces which I account as “the evolution of poetry” and have no problem doing that.
Dupur Mitra: Can you talk about the importance of sound in your poetry?
Glen Still: Well, being a Spoken Word Artist, and a Voxpoet – Sound is everything as a writer-poet. In fact, everything I write has a sound, a tempo, a rhythm to it. I have a tendency to set those cadences within the poem so that I know where they are – yet the reader has to be involved in the piece to actually pick up on them. I also find that Spoken Word is a beacon to collaborating with other artists, which I find necessary in my own personal development as a writer, poet and spoken word artist.
Dupur Mitra: Is there a relationship between your speaking voice and your writing voice?
Glen Still: I have no idea, you’d have to ask someone that knows me personally, someone I’ve opened up to in regards of my own personal opinions and then, that someone, has heard, or been privy to a poem or spoken word piece that I’ve asked them to review. I think as a poet, that is a pursuit. But, I think as well, if it’s not a natural collaboration from deep within – it doesn’t work.
Dupur Mitra: How does a poem usually start for you?
Glen Still: I read a lot! I think it’s imperative for a writer, poet – especially a social activist, political, radical in your face poet such as myself to be up on daily and world happenings. There is a rich and deep treasure of information that can be incorporated into contemporary poetry. I seek to do that with the intent to cause the reader to think outside of the box.
Dupur Mitra: Who are your major influences as a poet?
Glen Still: Unlike others responding to this question with names and titles, which I could procure an endless list of – I’ll simply say MUSIC.
Dupur Mitra: What is poetry?
Glen Still: Poetry is a personal petri dish – from the poet – of the human experience. An experiment of who we are, what we could be, how we could be what we perceive as a better us.
Dupur Mitra: What are your observations about the trending of world poetry?
Glen Still: I think that perhaps, this particular moment in history, above all else – due to the fact that we have so much information at our disposal via the internet – this period of humanity and creative arts is potentially, the most critical element in our progression as an evolving species.