Inky Interview Special: John Grey, Australian Poet, USA resident

Tell us about your journey towards becoming a poet.

Sometimes in my early teens, I had made up my mind that I was going to be a writer. I tried just about every variation on the written word over the ensuing years from short stories to plays and (especially) songs but finally poetry emerged as the one genre that fitted what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it.

What is it you love about poetry?

The immediacy. The compactness. How so much can be said with so few apt and original words.

What do you care about? What themes keep cropping up in your writing?

I write so much poetry that it’s impossible for me to get stuck on one particular theme. But, I expect, if I did a census, relationships would come out on top.

Describe a typical day in your life.

During the week, I typically work from 7 until 7. That includes writing and all the secretarial work that goes along with it. That includes coffee, lunch and exercise breaks. On weekends, I’m more flexible as I have to work around family requirements etc.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Am I allowed to say the current president?

Who inspires you and why?

Reading originally inspired me to write. These days, I can’t think of any particular author who stands out above the others.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t take rejection hard. Just let it make you more determined. And perhaps take up a more lucrative branch of the arts.

Tell us a story in five words.

The phone rings. Telemarketers. Slam!

Have you been on a literary pilgrimage?

Not really. though I have visited various writer tourist spots such as Poe’s grave and Mark Twain’s house in Hartford.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find your voice. Have faith in yourself. Keep at it.

What are you reading at the moment?

I always find myself reading something that probably nobody else in a radius of 5,000 miles is reading at this very moment. Right now it’s The Education Of Uncle Paul by Algernon Blackwood.

What is next for you? What plans have you got?

My next is usually a vacation I’m looking forward to. My plans are to keep on writing.

Poetry Drawer: An Awkward Meeting in a Coffee House by John Grey

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