♣ Poet Focus: Fiona Zerbst
What is your current profession? How do you juggle your work and your writing?
I’m a development writer and I also tutor poetry online after hours.
It’s difficult for me to write poetry consistently. I tend to write a number of poems over a period of a week or so, then go for many months without writing anything. Some days, I have a sense of flow and write for hours at a time, though the end result is often very different from what I imagined it would be. Most days, though, I am caught up in surviving, and I paint or meditate to relax – writing is not very relaxing for me!
With which person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation?
My favourite novelist, George Eliot.
What is the most compelling lesson you have learned thus far from the Covid-19 pandemic?
Be kind to yourself and try to live in the moment as much as possible.
Which poets currently inspire you?
The last book I bought was Flèche by Mary Jean Chan, which has a lot to commend it. At the moment, I’m most inspired by Ted Kooser, Connie Wanek, A. E. Stallings and Rita Dove.
ADVICE TO NEW/YOUNGER POETS
- Read other people’s poetry! Read widely within the literary canon – it’s the best place to start.
- Find a mentor – no poetic journey is complete without one.
- From the outset, be open to editing and rewriting your own work. Have your mentor guide you if you don’t know where to start.
BOOKS/MOVIES/SERIES/SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS YOU ARE READING OR FOLLOWING DURING LOCKDOWN
- The Nightly Met Opera Streams are amazing.
- MOMA’s free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on Coursera give one a fresh perspective on art.
- @EthicsinBricks on Twitter is sheer genius.