Delighted to be asked for a ‘Quick 9’ interview with Fevers of the Mind. A great opportunity to mention so many generous people, and thank them for their continuing encouragement and involvement.
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Marcelle: I started recording the everyday, usually on my iphone, during maternity leave with my son. It was such an overwhelming time- the extreme sleep deprivation, as well as being new to parenting. I used the page (screen) as someone to share with. Looking back at those notes now the range of emotions is astonishing – some have turned into poems, some not.
In 2018 I attended poetry evening classes run by the generous Mab Jones, she was the one that really got me ‘started’, she is so passionate and enthusiastic. That lead to a weekly group run by Claire Syder, which I still attend now and wouldn’t be without.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Marcelle: I still attend lots of workshops (online in these covid times), which I find really inspiring – learning about different approaches to writing, the different personalities. I have recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with the fabulous Elizabeth Horan and am now inseparable from the prose poem.
I live in South Wales and am surrounded by wonderful landscape and lyrical welsh poets – historic and living. These are a constant influence – to infuse the local into the universal.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/artist?
Marcelle: Reading Tony Hoagland’s work, it is so affecting, I knew I wanted to learn to be able to connect like that. I adore the way he expresses the magicness of the everyday.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Marcelle: I regularly attend a workshopping group with Rhian Edwards, Tracey Rhys, Emily Cotterill, Susie Wildsmith and Emily Blewitt, who are all fantastic writers and thoughtful readers. The wonderful Christina Thatcher has been my mentor for almost 2 years now and her steady influence and insight I greatly value.
It is a privilege to be able to read hundreds of poetry submissions in my position as poetry editor for Nightingale and Sparrow, this has really informed my own writing persuasions. In 2020 I worked on a Pandemic Poetry anthology – the submissions were astounding in their breadth and intensity, it was a honour to read for. Editing has definitely helped my ability to objectively assess my own writing.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Marcelle: I grew up and went to school in Cardiff, capital of Wales, before moving on graduation, via London, to Portsmouth on the south coast of England. I have been very lucky always living close to the sea and hills. My parents love the sea and we would often daytrip to visit, in all its different forms, in all types of weather.
I trained as an Architect and have been lucky enough to travel to Australia & New Zealand, North America & Canada, and Western Europe. I love well laid out European urban spaces and can recall routes and places easily, which I often dream about walking through, and they end up on the page.
Q6: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Marcelle: I enjoy writing about the everyday, highlighting the precious normal, which can easily be overlooked with our hectic lives.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Marcelle: I love making dresses for my young daughter from found materials (scarves from charity shops, my dad’s old shirts), wind bathing! and reading with continuous cups of tea.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?
Marcelle: From ‘Weeping willow’ my poem published in Indigo Dreams’ ‘Dear Dylan, an anthology after Dylan Thomas’:
She knew: memory as a trick, there’s only now.
So they bathe, drink, exert, worship – keep not
to themselves and believe in divine cultivation.
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Marcelle: Not really! Watch this space, first pamphlet coming soon (hopefully)!