Writers On Writing / Fiona Wright on the value of feedback

Award-winning writer, editor and critic, Fiona Wright describes how valuable feedback has been to her writing.

How has receiving feedback on your writing helped you develop as a writer?

It’s been integral, both in terms of developing the writing itself, and in helping me find a community of writers, which is essential, given that so much of what we do happens in isolation and inside our own heads. I’ve always found feedback to be incredibly useful in helping me figure out what my work is trying to do and other ways that I might go about doing that, and pushing me to try different approaches or ideas.

Who are some contemporary poets you admire?

I really love Emma Lew’s work, which is always so precise it’s almost frightening. I recently read and loved Alison Whittaker’s Blakwork and Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s Sergio Seeks Bacchus, which is funny and tender and fierce.

You write in many different forms including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. How does the process of writing poetry differ to the other forms you write in?

I’m always a very slow writer, but I think poetry is the slowest form for me – and more often than not, I write it by hand, which definitely contributes to that. But I think the speed is important – because there’s more of a sense of weighing every word, and of letting the mind move laterally, rather than with narrative progression. Poetry is still my first love, and it’s still what I come back to, time and time again.

Fiona Wright personal essaysFiona Wright is a writer, editor, and critic from Sydney. Her first book of essays, Small Acts of Disappearance, won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize. Her poetry collections are Knuckled, which won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award, and Domestic Interior, which was nominated for a Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Her new collection of essays is The World Was Whole.

Join Fiona Wright for her online course, Online Feedback: Poetry beginning on 14 September 2020.

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