My poetry usually starts with an idea: An online interview with Ole Wesenberg Nielsen
Published book: Nothing is Complete Before It is Broken, Happiness is a Rumour
Dupur Mitra: When and where do you write?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: It varies, I have no place or time that I have set aside for writing poetry. I always work on my poems at home on quiet weekends or vacations, but some of my poems are done on the spot when inspiration hits me. My ideas for poems comes from listening to music, bar’s and drinking and my observations of life as it passes by in fleeting moments, where an careful observer can catch a glimpse of something worth writing about. For many years I carried a small note book with me everywhere I went, to catch my ideas before I forgot them again, now I use my smart phone instead of the notebook, it is just easier for me to decipher what I write, my own hand writing is not that pretty.
Dupur Mitra: Can you talk about the importance of sound in your poetry?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: Sound and rhythm has it’s importance in my poetry, but I will bend backwards to get the images right. I don’t mean the metaphorical images that way to many writers use. I am talking about images that can stand on their own in their pure might. So sometimes I will abandon my love for the lyrical side of poetry to go and create a series images in the head of the reader instead. I think that images transcend language, where a poem that relies heavy on sound and rhythm can be almost impossible to translate, a poem filled with images have a much better chance of giving meaning to people from different cultures, even though images can mean different things in various cultures, like for instance the color white that means purity some places and other places it means death.
Dupur Mitra: What advice was most helpful to you when you first started writing poetry?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: Don’t write poetry. Was the best advice I got. Well I never followed it, and now I can’t stop, even if I wanted to.
Dupur Mitra: Why is poetry important?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: It is an ancient art, that can be found most cultures around the world. It is like music, it helps us cope and share lives struggles and joys and can reflect the spiritual sides of existence as well. Poetry can be anything it wants to be, it is at the forefront of the human mindset even when it remains unseen by many. For all the good poetry can do it also has a dark side, where poetry becomes too much in various ways. The hardest part about poetry is to see how it now struggles on the edge of especially western culture, even though two centuries ago, poets where celebrated like rock stars.
Dupur Mitra: How important is your identity and background to your writing?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: I come from a punk and anarchistic background, and it shapes the way I write poetry a lot. Form the two fingers in your face, over the humor, to the more political poems. It also gives me a high disregard for rules in poetry, not that I can’t keep to them when I want to. I will always try try to create something new and raw, like the three chord punk songs that I love so much.
Dupur Mitra: Is there a relationship between your speaking voice and your writing voice?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: I would say no. I write in English, and mostly speak danish in my “normal” life. I read a great deal of books and listen to a lot of songs in English. So I would say that my inner voice has a relationship with my writing voice.
Dupur Mitra: How does a poem usually start for you?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: With an idea, coming out of nowhere, like a flash of light, by sitting down and just write away until the words appear or just plain old hard work.
Dupur Mitra: Can you describe your writing process?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: Chaotic at most times, the ideas often comes when I am with other people or listening to music. Then I will use a couple of days, preferably on vacations to take all my ideas, and work them into poems. I also use my friends a lot to spare ideas and thoughts and get constructive criticism.
Dupur Mitra: Did you get any helpful advice when you were first starting to write poetry?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: No. I just started writing poetry for myself, never to be published. Until one of my friends, Sebastien Doubinsky discovered it, and gently forced me to work on getting published.
Dupur Mitra: What are the pleasures and difficulties of writing about your own family?
Ole Wesenberg Nielsen: Almost all the poems I write about my family will never be published, they are private, and would have no meaning to the rest of the world. That said I wrote a poem, for my mother on the day that she passed away, it is in my newest collection “ Nothing is Complete Before it is Broken” (out on Leaky Boot Press), I did not dedicated to my mother, but it should be obvious if you read the collection.