My poetry is the poetry of rejoicing, even when it is about people I loved who have died. I am a poet of the everyday things, because I see magic in them. I can get enormous pleasure from, for example, the way the light falls on brickwork in the late afternoon, or the song of a bird heard but not seen. I write a lot about people, relationships and emotions. I think any subject is worthy of a poem, but I tend to side with William Carlos Williams when he says ‘poetry only in things’. I don’t like using or writing about abstractions, I like to find what Eliot called ‘an objective correlative’ to explore big questions, and I don’t always realise what I am doing, for example my poem about Frankenstein’s monster, ‘The Doctor’s Creation’ is really about trying to live up to parental expectations. I find I can get into the heads of characters and sometimes the dramatic monologue type of poem is a rewarding method for me. It’s not too different with the children’s poems. I bring characters from books into the everyday world, for example my vampire ‘Aunt Jane’ and my ‘Witch in the Supermarket’. I draw on my own experiences as well, and find poetry not only helps me work through things, but my readers too. I’ve been influenced of course by other poets, but this is always shifting and changing, more poets are added to my reading constantly. I like to be steeped in reading and writing poetry. I was lucky enough to be a close friend, for many years, of the poet Matt Simpson, and we used to look at each other’s poems, so I learned how to be hard on my work to toughen and tighten it, and we also used to recommend poets to each other. Since he died, I haven’t really shown my poems in that way to anyone, I have become my own first reader. Everything Matt taught me is still with me.
This post is part of an interview I did for Wordsoup. The rest is here:http://www.lancashirewritinghub.co.uk/an-interview-with-poet-critic-and-author-angela-topping/