Mark O’Flynn has published five collections of poems, most recently The Soup’s Song (Picaro Press, 2015). His work has appeared in many Australian journals as well as overseas. His novels include Grassdogs (2006) and The Forgotten World (Harper Collins, 2013). He has also published the comic memoir False Start as well as a collection of short fiction, White Light (2013). His latest novel The Last Days of Ava Langdon is published by UQP.
What sort of poetry do you write?
I’m interested in many sorts of poetry, so I suppose I float around somewhere in between bush poetry and the abstract poetry of the language poets. At a pinch I enjoy narrative poetry, but this could merely mean the story of a word or an image. I have been accused in the past of writing humorous poetry, a charge I deny, quite often. I also write in some more conventional forms such as sonnets, or the form that the poem invents for itself.
How long does it take you to write a poem?
Usually the first draft comes out quite rapidly. Then it all slows down during the editing process. Some poems are never finished. Often I have sent out a poem many years old that I thought had failed, only to find that someone else liked it enough to want to publish it. Then it was finished. I think redrafting is an important part of the process, where the craft and the magic interweave.
Why does poetry matter?
Because it compresses the essence of an idea or image into as few words as possible. The necessary words.
Discover the possibilities of action in poetry with Mark’s upcoming workshop Poetry in Action, on Saturday 30 April, 10am-4pm at the NSW Writers’ Centre. Please note that this workshop has had a change of tutor: Deborah Westbury planned the course, but is unfortunately unable to teach. Mark, her colleague, will teach using her course plan.