I still struggle to think of myself as “a” poet: An online interview with Paul Sands

Paul Sands was born in 1962 in Erdington, but was raised close to the River Trent in Nottingham. He attended comprehensive school in Selston. He worked from the age of 16 in the IT industry, between playing in noisy beat combos, for twenty-seven years until downsized and outsourced in 2006.

He self published his first collection of poetry, Ego…Ergo, in June 2012.

Published in: The Nexxuss Volumes 17 & 18 (March / April 2012) / Inner Child Press: Hot Summer Nights Anthology (July 2012) / Forward Poetry Anthology: Near & Far (Autumn 2012)

Dupur Mitra: Do you think poetry play role in your society? If yes how and if not why?

Paul Sands: I think poetry plays a bigger part in today’s society than many realise but I think it is polarised at each end of the age spectrum. The younger people have the poetry of the street in the music they listen to, but would probably never call it poetry, whereas the older generation have developed a poetry in the way they think and talk. I do worry there is a large chunk in the middle that is too tied up with getting on with their lives that don’t have as much poetry in there life as they perhaps should.

Dupur Mitra: Who are your major influences as a poet?

Paul Sands: The biggest influence was my English teacher Miss Hawley. She had a love for it that she filled me with, though I never let her know it unfortunately. My favourite poet is Ted Hughes and I think that is sometimes evident in my own work especially with regards to the subject matter. I also love the works of artist like Scroobius Pip but that is not a style I can comfortably work in myself.

Dupur Mitra: What does being a poet mean to you?

Paul Sands: I still struggle to think of myself as “a” poet. I write poetry but am not sure I’m fully qualified yet. If other people read my words and are inspired, entertained or moved, even if they dislike the sentiment, then that is what matters most. I’m certainly under no illusion that I will ever make a living out of poetry.

Dupur Mitra: What is poetry?

Paul Sands: Poetry is today trapped in aspic

Dupur Mitra: What are your observations about trending of world poetry?

Paul Sands: I love that the internet has opened up so many opportunities for poets and poetry lovers from different nations and cultures share their work. I feel it is a great way to overcome divides and barriers by getting a clearer understanding of each other.

Dupur Mitra: Is poetry movement can improve the poetry? if yes how, if not why?

Paul Sands: I’m not sure about this. There will always be bad poetry. I think good poetry can be written irrespective of what might be going on in the poetry movement. I think we will probably see a lot more bad poetry (I‘ve written enough myself) but in fairness it is all very subjective. There are quite a few renowned poets who I personally think are terrible

Dupur Mitra: What is your opinion about today’s world poetry movement?

Paul Sands: It is diverse and wonderful. The ability of so many people to write meaningful work n English where it is not their natural language puts me to shame.

Dupur Mitra: Describe the writing process in your poems.

Paul Sands: Phrases and expressions will come into my head and I will spend a lot of time rushing to find pen and paper to write them down before they fly away. I have spent hours repeating phrases in my head when I have been in the middle of nowhere so that I don’t forget them. My phone is full of largely undecipherable notes. I cant usually write on demand and I tend not to go out with the intention of writing a poem, the only occasion I did that was when I had the last line of a poem and I knew what I wanted to write about (a poem called Whitby). I usually compose my work on the move and have the bulk of the poem completed before I sit down to complete it. I read aloud to get a feel of the flow and will tweak to remove words that are repeated too often and sometimes replace a word I feel is too everyday. Once I feel it is complete it usually gets posted on Facebook somewhere. I sued to update my own blog but my PC is currently not allowing me access to it

Dupur Mitra: How would you describe the contemporary poetry

Paul Sands: Wonderful. I’m not a huge fan of rhyming couplets or standard forms and I like the conversational style that many contemporary poets bring to their work. I feel it should flow from the heart. I was listening to a recording of Ted Hughes talking about poetry recently and he said something along the lines of it being the idea that matters and that you shouldn’t worry about punctuation and I firmly agree with that, very punk rock

Dupur Mitra: When did you start writing?

Paul Sands: I started writing seriously in 2010. My fire was ignited when I heard some work of a London based performance poet called Anna Savage.

Dupur Mitra: Where do your ideas come from?

Paul Sands: My ideas come from observation, often from a misheard word in a conversation that changes it’s whole context and I can juggle with.

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