My ideas comes from my own life experiences: An online interview with Martin Navnihal Lochner

Martin Navnihal Lochner: Poet, stays in Cape Town, South Africa

Dupur Mitra: What was the first poem you wrote?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: My first poem was about the oppressive way of life in a railway community.

Dupur Mitra: What’s your favourite poem that you’ve written? Do you illustrate your own poems?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: My favorite poem is the one that I recently published with poetrybay magazine. Title : Instructing men on method. It is a war poem that describes the process of degrading men into killing machines.

Dupur Mitra: Where do you write your poems?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: In my meditation room with music and incense or just in my car or even in a public toilet or at a bus terminus!

Dupur Mitra: Where do your ideas come from?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: My ideas comes from my own life experiences.

-a difficult childhood,
-post traumatic stress.
-the heroic,tragic events of my life.
– My spirituality.

Dupur Mitra: What makes your poems different from other people’s?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: I am not sure but my aesthetics are as follows :

1.simplicity of metaphor but layered in meaning.
2. Meaning loaded with emotive potency.
3.To always leave the reader with a normative question related to his own life.

Dupur Mitra: Why is poetry important?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: Poetry surfaces the material of the subconscious. Poetry gives the opportunity to either recycle those material into a living art of beauty, to reconcile volatile feelings or to diminish it altogether. It is a confrontation and communion of essential feelings that matters in a world of superficiality. It celebrates our uniqueness and our universality as human beings.

Dupur Mitra: How does a poem begin for you – with an image an idea or a phrase?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: It comes as a strong undefined feeling of urgency. It is that feeling that chases after a suitable metaphor to manifest that feeling.

Dupur Mitra: How do you edit your poems?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: I will draft a poem on paper and work on it during a normal work week. When satisfied post it on a competent forum for critique and feedback. I will consider the feedback and make those changes I deem necessary for its improvement. My mentor Doreen Deutsch Spungin also assists me with the editing of my work before I submit it for publication. My editing is an interactive process that considers my gut and the advice of others.

Dupur Mitra: What advice was most helpful to you when you first started writing poetry?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: My friend and mentor Deanna Piowaty (Editor of Combustus) once said to me that the perennial currency of writing comes first by the prompting of the heart and then from the intellect. Something I applied ever since with the inspiration of authors like Charles Bukowski and Jack Kerouac.

Dupur Mitra: Is there a relationship between your speaking voice and your writing voice?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: I would like to think that there is no difference but when I think of it then the difference is that my writing voice is my future evolutionary voice in public. It is bold and fearless.

Dupur Mitra: Who are your major influences as a poet?
Martin Navnihal Lochner: The Beat Generation writings of Allen Ginsberg, Corso,Ferlinghetti and Snyder had a huge influence on my writing. Their manifesto of individualism,spontaneity and lack of inhibition resonated with me during the Apartheid era. A horrific time where the censor was god en regulator of our feelings and thoughts.

Dupur Mitra: Can you describe your writing process?

Martin Navnihal Lochner: ‘if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it. ‘
-Charles Bukowski

My process is one of waiting or to provoke it with Meditation. The rhythmic cadence of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra usually helps me to find my emotional centre and then I write. A simple suburban event or spectacle also draws me in and I am forced to write wherever I found myself. So my process is either by invoking it by silent devotion or observation of life on the streets of Cape Town.
A recent collection of his work ‘Decent World ‘




One Response to “My ideas comes from my own life experiences: An online interview with Martin Navnihal Lochner”
  1. alphawriter says:

    Love this; when a poem comes as an Unidentified feeling it usually comes with strong conviction when finished. They present themselves as deep appreciative feelings rushing into the veins and forcing the poet to express them. Good interview Martin.

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