Published: an interview with Paul Brookes on Wombwell

A new interview is out with Paul Brookes as part of his expansive, idiosyncratic online poetic conversation series A few qs from the Interview

  1. How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I actually have never felt dominated by older poets. Maybe because, also by accident, I found myself, early on, in a very specific tradition in the UK, what we might see as the British Poetry Revival and the older poets were really supportive and generous. More than poets my own age, but they were pretty grand on the whole too. But poets like Tom Raworth, Maggie O’Sullivan, Robert Sheppard, Iain Sinclair, Allen Fisher, Tony Lopez, Anselm Hollo and Tomaz Salamun, I can point to distinct moments with each of them when I had barely written / done anything and they took the time to encourage me. And poets a generation younger too, a generation on from me – Carol Watts, Jeff Hilson, Tim Atkins, Philip Terry, Peter Jaeger, they were also very very supportive. In fact I would say now this is something I take to be a responsibility. To teach the works of these older poets, to share them outside of the UK and to connect my students, those a generation younger than me, to the poets who have lived the life they might follow.

  1. What is your work ethic?

I enjoy working as I work now. I have spent years trying to fashion a work environment where I like what I do, working hard to get that, and now I have it, so I work harder, as it doesn’t feel like work. Both my parents were working class, they grew up in Liverpool during WWII. They grew up without education in bombed out buildings. They worked incredibly hard and taught me their ethic