It can be dangerous hanging out with poets. They often handle dangerous materials without a risk assessment. One of my rules is to read aloud any poem I encounter. When Candy submitted her poems for Freeze Frame I opened the file in the Gallo-Romano Media office. I selected a poem and read it out. Suddenly there was a sob from the lady who had been happily tapping at her keyboard. The poem to blame, “Sam” will appear in the collection. It is a simple poem dipped in human life juice. Some writers have this quality and I do not think you can force it if it is not there. With Candy’s poetry somehow you know that it is informed by an emotional life lived. There are many nuances in the human soul. Regret is not always sadness. Joy is not always happiness. Sadness itself may have on occasion an enveloping pleasure of gravitas and insight.To understand and savour this, we have poetry. Candy operates in this area but without self indulgence. Her work can be suddenly direct, factual and almost harsh. Above all you feel a fellow human reaching out to share how it is and how it feels. For poets, this process rarely gets beyond the work in progress file. In her collection “Candy Colours” she opens with a poem A Life So Far. It begins
It’s only a draft you understand
I’ll get it right some time soon.
Well, that’s life – and far more importantly, that’s poetry.
Candy was my fifth interviewee and I think her responses show very clearly what she is about and the unique thread of poetry that she brings to Freeze Frame
Reading your introduction and chatting to Paul Tobin after your audio studio session, the word “naked” has come up. You talk of poetry somehow revealing the truth of you. I see this is a valuable insight into the way you approach your work. I think you have every justification for feeling confident in your nakedness but how does it feel to you? Have you held back from getting your work out there?
Yes I have, I have used the analogy of writing in closets and singing in cupboards for years-for whatever it is worth when I write I seem to strip back to the bones my bones-and I guess that as few of us are unique-there may be a synergy out there somewhere. I now being of a great age that I have little left to lose by my honesty. Sometimes I so wish I knew another way to be-but I don’t.
When I received your poems I read them aloud in the Gallo-Romano office. Your poem “Sam” is very beautiful and poignant and brought out some tears. Your work often touches on the loss of innocence and to some extent, regret. Is this a theme in your thoughts?
Yes-I suppose it is apparent. I always thought I would die with Edith Piaf’s words on my lips-but not so. Whilst I embrace life and all the beauties it has to offer-the antithesis also exists and I find separation ridiculously hard.
You write about people. You also write about people in places. It seems to me that travel has been an element in your development as a poet. Is this so?
I have travelled out of pleasure and out of necessity and lord it has taught me much. I have also travelled out of autonomy and out of powerlessness and it is these opposites that seem to rule my life. I do so try to take on the lessons that they all seem to offer …….
Do you see yourself as a poet or as a woman, wife, mother who writes poetry? It is clear to me that much emotion comes off the page of your work. Is writing an emotional experience for you as you dig down into memory and experience?
That is a very hard question to answer without stripping back even more layers upon layers. I write as a being, I happen now to be a woman but I have been a girl and I have synergised/empathised with boys/men as well as females and then I have my spirit which I believe may just rise above gender and worldly position. However I write as my experiences have found me or it is I who have found them? And I am a woman, a sister, a mother, a lover, a friend and having been a nurse for most of my life a wannabe healer. There are times I truly feel I transcend these boundaries-but it usually gets me into trouble………
Listening to your audio track, I catch all sorts of influences in your accent and voice. Is that the result of an interesting life?
That is a very kind way of asking that question. It’s funny –I have lived in many different places-worn many different hats-and I am told that when I have had a few (too many) glasses of wine my American accent is very strong!! I guess I have many hats- I hope it’s a strength-I have always felt comfortable amongst kings or tramps or anything inbetween as long as there is good intent-who am I ?? perhaps my poetry is trying to find out
I love the straightforwardness of your poetry. There is no puffy language. Have you developed a lean style over time? Do you ponder and revise at length or does a poem just leap out trimmed and formed?
Mostly when I write-it just comes out –formed-sometimes I feel that I cant put that on the page as its too much ownership for the reader and I feel all responsible, I feel I have to apologise for dripping loss all over the place-and yet that is who I am. I so don’t want to bring anyone down but if someone reads my words and then does not feel so crazy or all alone then that’s great-and for me too. I guess that’s why I write I am shouting-hello-to anyone out there.
I have worked with people much more versed and academic than me and it lends me to working more to form-my only fear is losing passion………..
Had you read any of your poems aloud to an audience? Do you read them aloud to yourself and having undergone ordeal by audio do you feel it brings a fuller experience of poetry?
I LOVE hearing people reading their own work as I so know it adds a dimension that otherwise is lost. I do enjoy reading my own work-but there we go-naked again-and it takes much courage……
Candy has the honour of having the last word in Freeze Frame. She has a style which I believe many readers will recognise as being their own hearts and sentiments. In her first collection “Candy Colours” she employs the tag line “Poetry Especially For Women”. It is undeniable that her work does have a distinct femininity in that it is expressed from the heart of a woman. To give you a taste of her work I have selected a poem from her book.
Art becoming life and back again
Delving for the entwinable essence
Once this precious treasure found
Holding tight for fear it loses breath
You should not take me to the edge
Unless you beckon me to fly
You would not show me such brilliance
Then return me to lonely shadow life
Once a life is saved needs must it will be shared
Shall I rest here then for those trusting days
And nights where promises are made
Breathe then, this heart is in your grasp
The next and final interviewee is me! Jo VonBargen has provided the questions Indeed it is most fitting that she should do so since it was Jo who first caught my attention when I re-emerged into the world of poetry to publish “I Threw A Stone”. I realised that the poetry I wanted so badly was out there. It was the poetry of utterly talented writers like her.