As urine cascades down your black lace stocking And onto the linoleum "That's the kind of thing I wrote and then thought f But after one day of it being on paper I thought: I don't care any more. She's not having a bar of that. The poets I really love — people like Frank O'Hara and Adrienne Rich — are people who revealed so much about their lives For me when I read, I enjoy the experience of other people talking about their lives honestly, that is what I go to writing for.
If I wanted to wear a lot of corduroy and pretend I didn't exist, I could do that in my own life. But I think it's a fundamentally good thing that people are able to be so open about their lives. The people who seem to have a problem with oversharing are, well, let's be honest, it's older men, isn't it? But it's not for them. She started writing as a child. It was a lot of contemporary poets from the States. A lot of them were very funny. Like, I didn't think of poetry as something that could be humorous.
She just showed me a bunch of stuff that really changed my mind. In , she moved to Dunedin to live with her partner at the time and it was there that Bird wrote most of the poems that have ended up in this collection. Does she write every day? There's only 21 poems in that book and they took me about four years to work on, so I'm really slow. The longer ones probably took me about a month each. Some of the shorter ones were knocked out over a couple of days but that's unusual for me.
A lot of people get up in the morning and put on a suit and sit at their laptop, but I'm quite sporadic, really.
I was lucky I had a lot of time in Dunedin. I wasn't working fulltime so I just kept my own hours. The Agatha Christie fan says it's to be aimed at to year-olds, though it's too soon to tell. But despite this increasing attention, poetry still seems to make many people wary. Does Bird have any thoughts on why this might be? Often, I think people are right to hate poetry. There's a lot of poetry I really hate.
The way we are taught it at school is difficult. Our school system makes you kind of unpick things, makes you dig into the material and look for the deeper meanings and you're like knee-deep in the wasteland looking up this obscure Italian quote which is from one of the ancient Greek plays or something.
We are looking at it like we are doing an archaeological dig, but I think that's contrary to the spirit of the poetry I really like. I don't think that poetry doesn't reward deeper reading, but when you are forced to unpick it at a sentence level in a classroom structure, it's not going to win many hearts and minds, especially when there's such good, vivid writing in other mediums. I think that probably the best writing of our generation is on the television.
We've got The Wire and Battlestar Galactica. Why would you pick up Wilfred Owen?