Feelings (for Eileen Myles): An Interview with Emma Wootton


great weather for MEDIA is thrilled to return to Manchester, England, on Wednesday September 2  2015 for a spectacular evening of spoken word. Join performers Dominic Berry, Prue Chamberlain, Rose Condo, Rosie Garland, Ciarán Hodgers, Rebecca Audra Smith, Patricia Snake, Nadine West, Emma Wootton, plus editor Jane Ormerod, at the Three Minute Theatre. To whet your appetite, Jane catches up with Before Passing contributor Emma Wootton.  *

 JO: Congratulations, Emma, on your publication in our latest anthology Before Passing. Can you tell us a little about your poem? 

EW: "Feelings (for Eileen Myles)" was written as part of my final manuscript for my MA in Poetic Practice. Myles was one of the three queer writers I focused on in attempt to navigate the  "queering of the lesbian" through the poetic medium, and I fell in love with her blatant and explicit writings about sex, the female body, queer experiences and herself as "the lesbian poet." I was also inspired by her ability to reflect on a mélange of day-to-day happenings and events and this poem is both inspired by, and a homage to, her wonderful body of work. It also charts my journey of using the lyrical "I" in poetry and the complexity that voice can often bring.

JO:  We have an amazing event coming up on September 2 at 3MT. What can the audience expect from you and the other performers? 

EW: Manchester has one of the most exciting and diverse poetry and spoken word scenes I have found outside of London. The line-up this year is an excellent reflection of this diversity, and the audience can definitely expect a mind-blowing and inspiring array of words from all those reading! 3MT is also a wonderful intimate venue to hold an event like this. For me, I shall be trying out a few new pieces of work alongside some old ones, so play nice...

JO: What made you submit your poetry to a New York based publication? How often to you send your work out into the world and what have you learnt from the process?

EW: I have been lucky enough to have a few different poems successfully make their way into print, butI could not be more proud or excited to have "Feelings" published in the great weather for MEDIA anthology Before Passing. I love the fact that you publish such edgy writers who really push-the-boundaries of literature, and I feel honored to have my work in print with the publishers that have brought the likes of Aimee Herman and Puma Perl's collections into the world! I think the one thing I have learnt from sending out work to be considered is that, you just have to keep sending, keep writing, and keep believing even when your work isn't accepted by everyone. As Rosie Garland said when you interviewed her earlier this year, "if one publication doesn't like your poem, it means that maybe it just hasn't found its right home yet," and I am a firm believer in that.

JO: Tell us about your background. How did you end up in the Manchester spoken word scene?

EW: I moved to Manchester when I was studying for my MA in Poetic Practice (which hilariously enough was actually in London.) Without the funds to live there, Manchester was the next best option for art, poetry, and creativity. I initially discovered Stirred's feminist poetry night - co-organised by the fabulous Rebecca Audra Smith - and fell in love with the vibe and the quality of the event. Since then I have guested at Stirred, read at a couple of other open mic nights, and I strive to attend as many events as my schedule allows.

JO: What writers or performers inspire you?

EW: As you can tell from the title of my poem in Before Passing, Eileen Myles is one of the greatest influences on my work. However, I am also greatly inspired by a whole array of feminist, queer, experimental writers too, including Sina Queyras, Marilyn Hacker, Ali Smith, Jeanette Winterson, Sophie Robinson, and Prue Chamberlain (who shall also be reading at the launch!) Older writers who I consider to be way ahead of their time like Frank O'Hara, Sylvia Plath, and Gertrude Stein, have also influenced my practice. But really, there is so much talent out there that I find I am constantly discovering new sources of inspiration!

JO: Finally, what is next for Emma Wootton?

EW: I imagine I shall keep writing, keep submitting, and at some point attempt to get a short collection into print :)


great weather for MEDIA presents The Before Manchester Spoken Word Extravaganza

Wednesday September 2 2015, 7:00 pm

3MTAfflecks Arcade35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester, Manchester M1 1JGUK

£5 on door

Featuring Dominic Berry, Prue Chamberlain, Rose Condo, Rosie Garland, Ciarán Hodgers, Jane Ormerod, Rebecca Audra Smith, Patricia Snake, Nadine West, and Emma Wootton.

Full info and directions

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Submissions for great weather for MEDIA’s anthologies  open October 15  to January 15 each year.