♣ 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.



  • 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.



  • 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.

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Published Books

catalien by Oliver Findlay Price
missing by Beverly Rycroft
Landscapes of light and loss by Stephen Symons
An Unobtrusive Vice by Tony Ullyatt
Allegories of the everyday by Brian Walter
Otherwise occupied by Sally Ann Murray
The coroner’s wife by Joan Hambidge
A private audience by Beverly Rycroft

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