Friday, November 2, 2012

Keith Wallis, Poet

Welcome Keith! 

...a writer of ekphrastic poetry (interpretation of a visual art into word form), an author and much more....

Where are you in the world?
I live in England, in a town in which I was born.  I love my country and very rarely venture beyond it. I’ve not even got a passport !

Tell me about your writing...genre, audience, etc...
I write poetry, mostly ‘ekphrastic’ poetry (spell checks hate that word).  It simply means one piece of art informed or inspired by another.  In my case it’s my photography which gives the lead.  I also write imaginative narrative poetry from those passages in the bible which lend themselves to putting myself at the scene.  

My audience is generally Christian as my writing is often faith based. I would love to be a ‘performance poet’ but I’m far too much of an introvert so the performance is mostly restricted to being used with the format of church worship.   I submit poetry to a number of online magazines and am a sort of ‘poet in residence’ for the e-zine ‘Ruby for Women’.

I get as much pleasure in the design and putting together of a book as writing the pieces within it.

Where do you obtain ideas?

The ideas for my poems come mostly from photographs I’ve taken. I deliberately wait at least a couple of months between taking the photos and writing the poems as this then takes any immediate emotional attachment away and can lead to some ‘off piste’ thought trains.  I also like to work to ‘writing prompts’ by third parties as this stimulates my imagination.

Where do you like to write?

I have to write in the quiet – any distractions seem to be able to destroy my thought patterns. So my version of Dylan Thomas’s poetry shed is my office in the loft of our house.

Do you have a favourite muse/inspiration?

The natural world features high in giving me ideas for poetry.  I particularly love the coast but as we live about as far away from the sea as it is possible to get in England that’s not as accessible as I’d like.  My grandchildren also give my writing impetus – particularly our handicapped grandson.

How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?

I keep a ‘work in progress’ file of a prolific portfolio of photographs jotting down lines and words associated with them.  Pieces rarely move from the WIP file for several months after the first words are added, sometimes accumulating several different strands of thought.  Usually the first thoughts are discarded completely !

Do you have suggestions for newbie writers?

Two pieces of best advice for new writers - do  not to get too ‘precious’ over first drafts – be ruthless with rewrites.  (I rarely ‘complete’ a piece - I abandon them as I’m something of a perfectionist and am hardly ever completely satisfied with them.)   Secondly, read a lot of your preferred genre – reading is never wasted time.

Keith's blogs:
'Wordsculpture' : 
'a River of small Stones':

Keith's books :

The early years consists of the four small booklets produced in the days of the small press:
Marketplace of Masks.
Real Tears and Crocodile Smiles.
Concrete Womb.

It containing both the original poems and the original graphics.
This is not ekphrastic poetry.

In moments like these is not ekphrastic either and has minimal graphics.  Half of it contains ‘a journey through Easter’ a cycle of poetry set around the emotions and events of Holy Week.  Some of this was used by ‘RootsWorship’ as a resource for churches.

By still waters is the big one.  A luxuriant coffee table book with large photographs.  It would make a wonderful gift.

The ‘River of Small Stones’ series each have 31 short poems and accompanying pictures written one a day throughout a month (ideal for folks with a short attention span).  But  primarily an exercise in concise thoughts.  

Keith is a Moderator at: