Poet Focus: MICHÈLE BETTY
What is your current profession? How do you juggle your work and your writing?
I run the poetry publishing company Dryad Press and am editor of the literary journal, New Contrast: South African Literary Journal.
With which person, living or dead, would you most like to have a conversation?
There are so many but right now, Carol Ann Duffy, Carl Jung, Dostoevsky.
What is the most compelling lesson you have learned thus far from the Covid-19 pandemic?
It is wholesome to pare things down to the essential. And living a frenetic life is not uplifting or good for your wellbeing.
Which poets are you currently reading or which poets inspire you?
I am working through Dante’s The Divine Comedy, (mostly because I now have time). Then, John Donne, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Carol Ann Duffy.
What writing project are you currently working on and where can we go to see some new work?
I am working on a second collection and have new work forthcoming in Stanzas, The McGregor Poetry Anthology, The Avbob Poetry Anthology (as commissioned poet) and The Atlanta Review in the US.
ADVICE TO NEW/YOUNGER POETS
- You have to read excellent poetry if you wish to write excellent poetry: not only their poetry but also their life’s history. They are mostly fascinating.
- Join a writing group with people you can trust – feedback on your work is essential.
- Attend poetry workshop, lectures and readings at literary festivals and attend poetry launches to hear other poets read their work.
- The road to publication is a difficult one. Develop resilience and fortitude.
BOOKS/MOVIES/SERIES/SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS YOU ARE READING OR FOLLOWING DURING LOCKDOWN
- I am Dynamite: A Life of Friedrich Nietzsche, by Sue Prideaux.
- Bodies, by Susie Orbach.
- For escapism, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan spy series on Amazon.
- For a reality check, WWII in colour on Netfix