Michael Blackburn: “Lincoln fascinates me”

Lincolnshire poet Michael Blackburn has recently released his latest chapbook Pocket Venus. The Lincolnite caught up with him to talk about the collection.

Blackburn, a part time lecturer at the University of Lincoln, explained that the poems in Pocket Venus started as a project three years ago to write a poem a day.

He said: “There’s a couple of reasons I did that. One was just to get writing regularly. The other was to have something that was there as a kind of commemoration for each day. I’m now in my fourth year of doing this.”

The collection of twenty two miniscule poems cover a wide variety of themes. “I like writing poetry that I would like to read,” Blackburn reveals “Variety not just in subject matter, but in technique.

“I think most poets start out trying different things, then settle on a way of writing and follow it, so people tend to do things very much in the same way. I like it when people go against that.”

He continues: “I apply a number of techniques and approaches. It isn’t just writing a poem about a subject, which is the traditional way.

“Sometimes they are just single images, or they may be taken from found material. Sometimes they don’t seem to have any context, and at other times the context is quite clear.”

Blackburn went on to talk about his influences, citing European poetry as particularly inspiring. “The European poets of the 20th century are just stunningly good” he says.

“They really put into stark contrast the poetry in Britain. There is a huge amount we can learn from them.”

Blackburn also reveals Lincoln itself has proven to be a source of inspiration: “In many poems I refer to things I have seen and heard here.”

He goes on: “There is a bigger project I have been working on for a number of years that is more specifically do with Lincolnshire, its history and geography. Lincoln’s landscape fascinates me. God knows when it will be realised.”

Blackburn has no plans to stop his poem-a-day marathon: “If I carry on doing this until I kick the bucket, there will be a considerable amount of work there.”

Copies of Pocket Venus are available from The Red Ceilings Press’s website: http://www.theredceilingspress.co.uk/