This week’s Q+A is with Sheppey-based Jo Eden. Jo will be performing at Roundabout Nights (8 June, Chatham, UK). Her poems ‘Antimacassar’ and ‘Pulse’ also feature in the forthcoming issue of Confluence.
Tell us about your writing background…
I enjoy making visual art, singing, song-writing. I have begun writing again in the last year and seem to find myself alternating restlessly between these different creative activities.
Why do you write?
I use writing as a way of expressing my own inner world. It helps me get rid of my frustrations and anger and I use it as a way to try and make sense of things, gain balance.
Advice for people wanting to start?
Read all you can, learn, try and go out of your comfort zone and experiment with different styles of writing. Write from your own reality.
Do you think about the audience when you write? Are you more a 'page poet'?
I have just been published for the first time and I am delighted. I do write primarily for the page but have begun to realise how powerful a tool spoken word can be and that it opens up the scope of what’s possible, another mode of expression.
What writers do you admire?
I am inspired by the dark landscapes where I live on the Isle of Sheppey and by the resilience of this community. I’m influenced by the poetry of Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy.
And do you have a favourite?
Sarah Waters, for the haunting descriptive detail, great narrative drive, and sense of time and place in her novels.
Why poetry (and prose)?
I love the compact layering of meaning in poetry, the detective work in finding the words and moulding the structure of the piece, sensuality of words. The artist in me loves visual description that feels just right in creating emotional atmosphere. I enjoy prose for the ability to be immersed in the world of the characters swept along by the story.
What was the first thing that you remember writing?
My first ever memory was writing a detective story at school when I was 8 about some intrepid schoolchildren who go on a treasure hunt in a decaying house in the forest. I think I must have been reading Swallows and Amazons or some such at the time!
Cats or dogs?
I have 4 dogs – 3 Cairn Terriers and a Yorkie and I do like cats too.