Emergence: An Interview with Lew Kelly

The Other Side of Violet contributor Lew Kelly chats with Jane Ormerod. 

Lew Kelly is a writer from Rossendale, England. He is the editor of the Lifejacket Anthology—a collection of short fiction, poetry, and art, raising money and awareness for displaced people.

Lew Kelly
it emerges, and I know all the little cogs are turning when it whimpers—     
— Lew Kelly, "Emergence"

JO:  Congratulations, Lew, on your publication in our latest anthology The Other Side of Violet. Can you tell us a little about your poem "Emergence"?

LK:  "Emergence" is a strange little poem I wrote during my time at Liverpool John Moores University. I'm a big fan of baths, and my friend made a comment, something like "We like baths so much because it reminds us of being in the womb, all warm and safe." So, naturally, the next time I had a bath I started thinking about that. "Emergence" is a poem about having a baby, and the process of falling in love with it. I've never actually been a parent myself, and it starts with this almost cold detachment to the newborn that quickly blossoms into devotion and a need to protect this precious, fragile creation.

JO:  What made you submit it to a New York based publication? How often do you send work out and what have you learned from the process?

LK:  A friend and former colleague, Emma Wootton, who was featured in a previous anthology, encouraged me to submit one morning. I hadn't yet found a home for "Emergence" but when I saw the eclecticism and zest that the poetry in great weather for MEDIA has, I knew it would be a good fit. So I submitted and hoped for the best! I don't send work that often at the moment as I'm contributing on building up my portfolio, but it's something I plan to get back to in the future.

JO:  We are looking forward to hearing you at 3MT in Manchester on September 1st. What can the audience expect from you?

LK:  I think I'm going to read mostly poems that I've never performed before, including some brand new, fresh off the grill material – alongside a few older poems I wrote at LJMU. I've never been to the 3MT and am pretty excited!

JO:  Can you tell us a little about your background? How did you arrive in the poetry and spoken word scene?

LK:  I still feel relatively new to the poetry scene. I only started writing poetry seriously during my third year of university, so about two years ago. I was always a prose writer. But I was slowly taken in by the amazing work I was reading and so I became a poetry convert. I started writing stories when I was about six or seven and have never stopped since.

JO:  Which writers, artists, or musicians inspire you?

LK:  So many! It was the poetry of Billy Collins and Tara Bergin that really pulled me into poetry. Other poets I love include John Burnside, Sylvia Plath, Ocean Vuong, and my two wonderful poetry lecturers at LJMU – Andrew McMillan and Helen Tookey, both of whom are amazing. Other writers include Haruki Murakami, Neil Gaiman, Max Porter, and the screen-writer John Logan. I'm also a huge of the old gothic classics. Who else? I’m inspired by anything Amy Lee does, music, art or otherwise. Hans Zimmer and Tina Guo are my current musical idols. And finally my friends would never forgive me if I didn't confess my abiding love for the actor Billie Piper.

JO:  Final question...what’s next for Lew Kelly?

LK:  I finished the first draft of a novel earlier this year, so while I'm figuring out the best way to operate on that, I'm just concentrating on little fun projects and working on poetry. I'm trying to devour as many books as I can at the moment, and just concentrate on writing for the pleasure of it.


The Other Side of Violet

 is an exhilarating collection of contemporary poetry and short fiction by established and emerging writers from across the United States and beyond.  The anthology also contains interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Paul Harding and award-winning poet and novelist Tim Z. Hernandez.


for our next anthology open October 15 2017.

Live in the UK? All great weather for MEDIA books are available from




Friday September 1st 2017, 7:00 pm

3MT 35 Oldham St Manchester M1

Featured performers Rosie Garland, Lew Kelly, and Genevieve L Walsh

**Plus open mic! show us your best!**