AUTHOR: John Lavan
BOOK TITLE: Familial: Selected Poems
PUBLISHER: Apostrophe Books
Please tell us about yourself?
I work as a Management Consultant – and my main passion is poetry – reading it, studying it, writing it. I live in Yorkshire (UK) with a wife and I have three sons. About three years ago I read in a ‘how to’ book – The Internet Poets are coming! – and I decided to become one! I have around 160,000 followers on Twitter.
Tell us your latest news?
I write a poem every day. Two of my sons and I recently auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent – using poetry and song.
When and why did you begin writing?
Ten years ago, my wife and I started to read a book of Betjeman’s poems out loud to each other. I began to write a few short poems to my wife – on post-its left out for her when I went to work. I discovered I have a passion and talent for writing poems.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my blog went through half a million hits!
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes – I believe poetry (at its best) weaves magic spells by working with words, images and feeling. Many of my poems explore the feeling between father and son – an area largely ignored in literature generally.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? (Has anyone ever realized it?)
Yes – my son Andrew, who had Down’s Syndrome, is my main muse!
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Shakespeare – he’s unsurpassed.
What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
I’m reading a book called ‘Bounce’ about professional sports coaching. It suggests you need 10,000 hours practice to become world-class at something – so I’m about a quarter of the way towards becoming a great poet!
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
No – much modern poetry is too clever for its own good. At the same time, the arena for innovation in poetry is huge. Many poets and critics believe that Emily Dickinson’s extended use of the hyphen to create pause and breath (150 years ago) is still an innovation!
What are your current projects?
I have an ongoing epic poem which I keep coming back to.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
It’s the initial expression of the point and content of the poem. It takes inspiration and effort – As Frost says ‘It starts with a lump in the throat’ It’s almost like being sick – or orgasmic!?
Do you ever have problems with writers block? If so how do you get through it?
I write a poem about it.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Emily Dickinson – she had amazing compression and mysticism. There are many great mysteries to be reconnoitered and glimpsed through poetry – and she explores love and death better than anyone.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I would say write every day. Aim for 10,000 hours good (i.e. purposeful) practice!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
My poems are about feeling really – feeling for the reader connecting with the feelings of the writer.
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
Apostrophe Books – they’re great and we connected on Twitter (@ApostropheBooks).
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.
My blog is at …. http://poemsfromreality.blogspot.co.uk
And my book at … http://apostrophebooks.com/familial
One of the internet’s most prominent poets, John Lavan, presents a new book of collected poems.
John’s distinctive voice, enjoyed by his hundreds of thousands of blog and Twitter followers, carries effortlessly from the personal to the pastoral. Many poems are inspired by family relationships, especially the bond he has with his first son Andrew, who has Down’s syndrome.
There are also poems on love, our time, a series of haiku, and even poems on poetry among this collection of more than 100 hilarious, thoughtful and heart-breaking works.