Updated: May 2
In the second of our Q&A features, we talk to contributor Amanda Jane about all the little ways poetry manifests itself in our day-to-day lives, its therapeutic nature as a form of self-expression, and the thrills of getting published. Falling Icicle and A Night to Remember can be found in The Needle Drops... Volume One.
It began with sharing poetry amongst a small circle of friends - this, however, didn't quite satisfy the urge, so Amanda Jane developed a certain passion toward the idea of sharing her poetry with a wider audience. Amanda yearned for her work to be published, but was terrified of the unknown experience. In February 2021, she decided to start contacting publishers -- never thinking for a minute that her work would be accepted and that the very first month would be such a success.
So, Amanda - was this foray into poetry something you feel was bubbling for a long time, or an entirely new experience for you?
From a young age I had an interest in writing stories and drama. Whilst I was in middle school, Friday afternoons were a time to share creative projects, and with the support of my peers, we would act out my recent performance. I would often write conversation using rhyme. When both merged, I was left with some beautiful results.
How did you go about approaching the publication process? Did you dive in headfirst, or research to your heart’s content?
I did a lot of research and I still do, I think it is important to research as much as possible. I researched many publishers online and found some useful groups on Facebook. I also started studying an online course which also introduced me to potential publishers.
Both Falling Icicle and A Night to Remember provide stark imagery that provokes thought by unsettling the reader - where do you draw inspiration from?
Falling Icicle was one of my early pieces which came to me as I was drifting off to sleep - and if I remember correctly - I believe it just clicked. I am not sure if there was any particular inspiration or where exactly it came from.
A Night to Remember, on the other hand, came to me during the night after watching a random programme about how the police worked a case using undercover officers. I am not sure how the programme and my work tie in together, but I find it rather weird how the imagination can be triggered by such random things.
"I would often write conversation using rhyme. When both merged, I was left with some beautiful results."
Do you have a favourite poet or collection of poetry?
The poet whose work I have always admired is a guy who lives rather close to me, actually. A guy called Ian Clayton. From a young age I was able to relate to his work, which is about our community and, most important of all, the things that matter to him - such as the people of our community.
Considering your family life, how has the reception been to your new-found love for writing poetry? Do you share, or keep this disconnected from your day-to-day?
My husband Mark and our son Cayden are both very supportive. I have written poems which are attributed to them. I hope my work will inspire Cayden and others to follow their dreams, no matter what fears or difficulties that they may face.
You mentioned how you like to recite poetry before bed - do you create all of your poetry this way, via the spoken word?
I compose the vast majority of work this way, but not everything comes out as spoken word. This way works for me because I know that my thoughts will not be interrupted. I see it as my time. Mark and Cayden are asleep, and the world seems at peace. Some of my poetry is about nature so I may compose these while I am out walking.
"This way works for me because I know that my thoughts will not be interrupted. I see it as my time. Mark and Cayden are asleep, and the world seems at peace."
For any new writers looking to pursue publication - what’s the best thing you’ve learned since you started?
Not to be afraid of rejection! Even the worlds most well renowned writers have had their work rejected. There are many reasons why work may be rejected, so please do not think that it is to do with the quality of your work - it is good practice to remember that only about 5% of submitted work gets accepted. At the end of the day, publishers only have a limited amount of space to publish so this means not everything can be accepted.
In three words or less - what can our readers expect?
Frozen suspenseful slaughter.
Thank you, Amanda. It’s been a pleasure and we can’t wait for people to read your poetry feature.
Thank you for having me, it has been a pleasure working with you. If any of the readers have any comments they would like to share about my work, please feel free to stop by my Facebook page, even if it's just to say hello. My page can be found here.
Falling Icicle and A Night to Remember by Amanda Jane are available in The Needle Drops… Volume One.