Interview with Wayne Holloway-Smith – Ledbury Munthe Poetry Prize for Second Collections

Conversation with Wayne Holloway-Smith, who is shortlisted for the Ledbury Munthe Poetry Prize for Second Collections for Love Minus Love, published by Bloodaxe Books. The judges will announce the winner on 7 December at a special FREE online event, when all the shortlisted poets are performing – reserve your ticket here. Buy a copy of the book here

Wayne, Please could you give us your reaction to being included in the shortlist.

It’s always incredibly encouraging to find out readers consider your work to have merit. To receive news that these judges, in particular, have found value in Love Minus Love is an enormous buzz. I I’m very grateful.

Please could you tell us a bit about writing your second collection? How was the writing process different from the first collection for you? Was it easier or harder to write?

I think I’m beginning to understand my writing as an ongoing literary project, so it’s quite difficult for me to distinguish been the practice of writing separate collections. I think, perhaps, my confidence in my own impulse has grown, in terms of how I articulate and move into and out of my preoccupations. In this way, and through the backing of my close peers and my publisher, I was able to be bold enough to lean into one longer fragmentary piece.

What are your hopes for this book? For example, how you hope readers might respond to this book? Can you talk about your intentions, preoccupations, writing this book?

I’m trying to think differently about the metric by which I measure success – what can I and can’t I control? I know I can write with honesty and vulnerably, using a particular poetics to  get beyond the limits of conventional English in expressing my experiences, both emotional and material – and that’s a start. I know I can’t be in charge of how many people read the work or the conclusions each reader will come to if they do. But my hope is that some people, who bring their own lives to their reading, can find a connection on some level – and when I receive messages from people telling me how this has happened, when someone says a piece of work has been important to them in some way, that’s been the most meaningful.

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