I have been invited by Meryl Pugh http://furtive11.wordpress.com to be part of this online Writing Process Tour. Do have a look at her site and follow the tour backwards as well as forwards. There are many interesting writers who are part of this process. We have each answered the same 4 questions and then nominated 3 others to take part.

What am I working on?

I am looking at the final proofs for my next book - Into The Woods - to be published by Enitharmon Press at the end of July. I am also starting my next book, provisionally titled Webber Street, which I am hoping will come out in 2017. It is part of my PhD that I am taking at the University of East London. I am exploring shared concerns between poetry writing and history and asking if poetry is a suitable vehicle for micro-history. The poems come out of research about the history of my flat - a one bedroom former tenement in North Lambeth. 

I drafted two poems this week. One was in the voice of Annie Urquhart, the first tenant in my flat, about her young childhood. She was born in a house behind St John's church - Waterloo Bridge. Two years before she was born there was a cholera epidemic, which took many lives in the streets around there, including a man from that address. It was caused by contaminated water from the Thames that people collected in buckets - as there was no running water then and no stand pipes in our part of Lambeth. 

They didn't know that however, and one of the thoughts about it was that it was caused by bad air. Annie's mother, would have been, like most of her generation in that area, obsessed with cleanliness and fresh air - so the poem tracks her memory of her mother scrubbing and having windows open all the time. The other was written in a strong local accent - which I do from time to time and was using the text of a letter of complaint written to the housing office in 1921 about a woman who by the sound of it was a total nuisance! The letter contains some interesting punctuation - especially as the writer gets stressed by the nature of her story!

How Does My Work Differ From Others in its Genre?

Like all writers I am to some extent involved in a conversation with all literature that has gone before and with the reader, the first of whom is me. I am from a different demographic to most poets however, and so my writer's voice has to reflect that and that is a difficult task sometimes as the kit available to me - what I can gain from reading others and my own worked on literary voice, doesn't always have it laid on for me. Perhaps I overthink it - but actually, I think that is impossible! That explains my interest in the work of micro historians - especially Carlo Ginzburg - because that intense preoccupation with detail and peculiarity that enables him to say something different about the world is what I am looking for in my writing. And - by peculiarity - I don't mean 'quirkiness' - I'm not overly keen on the fakery that is often involved in that.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

I am not sure about this - I like what Meryl Pugh wrote in her blog on this topic - about loving text and words. When I was younger, I worked in the print industry as a bench-hand and had a lot of dealings with the detritus of text. Washing blankets meant using a glorious smelling solution to wash off the imprint of photographed text (different fonts and sizes - and all back slang). The daily turn in the giant shredder also was a different kind of textual experience. Seeing text whizz by at high speed on the machines as well.

I read a lot of poetry as a child. My mother had had a big poetry reading habit from childhood. A librarian in her childhood had made all children take a poetry book out on each visit and that had influenced her reading all her life. Most of my childhood poetry books were brought by Father Christmas. My first teenage full collection of poetry was a Dylan Thomas selected. It was used to read poems at both my parent's funerals.

How Does my Writing Process Work?

It comes at me in quiet moments in the music of a phrase - much like for most poets I guess. Without that it's no good - at least as a satisfying experience for me anyway! I do - probably about half the time - write poems that are consciously about something particular - but by the time I sit down to write them I will have absorbed the research on the topic and its language into the general contents of my head - so I can still usually snatch that magic creation moment!

I find if I put, in a note book, something that sounds great that I want to use later - it stays that way! One good line that is never used. So, I try not to write things down too quick. I usually write them out as prose first and then listen to them and fiddle about to try to decide what their form should be. 

Editing is everything in poetry, and I love it. One thing I worry and feel inadequate about is my reliance on typing. People talk about writing by hand as being essential to them and involving a more creative part of the brain, but I can't really - as due to having touch typed for over 30 years - sometimes for a living - the muscles in my hand that type are very well developed and the ones required to hold a pencil are ropey and I can rarely even read my own writing. Also - as a Londoner, I speak fast and I can type at the speed I think and speak but I have to slow my hand writing right down in order to be able to have any chance of reading it. I have tried to work with that - for poems that need slowness. But, usually, lack patience with it in the end.

My tagged trio are: 

Katy Evans Bush http://baroqueinhackney.com

Jacqueline Gabbitas http://www.jacquelinegabbitas.net

Marek Kazmierski http://www.mjkazmierski.com