Outside, the Box.

Give yourself permission to write, and go for it. Sue Kindon.

Today’s the day! 4Word are proud to announce the official launch of our latest pamphlet Outside, the Box by Sue Kindon.

Sue lives and writes in the French Pyrenees and was born in Croydon when it was still in Surrey. She studied English and French Literature at the University of Hull, in the days when Philip Larkin ruled the library and has spent most of her life since, bookselling.

The poetry happened early and late, with a dormant period between times. It was unexpectedly reawakened in Cumbria by a local writing group, nurtured by Brewery Poets (Kendal) and brought to fruition by 52, the online writing group set up by Jo Bell.

Sue’s first pamphlet, She who pays the piper, was published by Three Drops in 2017.

Here is what others say about Sue’s poetry:-

“There is a subtle earthy mysticism to Outside, the Box, like a wavering truce between humans and the natural world – the poems are fresh with herbs and wildflowers; the speaker in ‘Freehand’ rebels against her precise boxmaker father’s “set squares and dovetails” to “revel in [her] own inaccuracy”; a church garden is revealed to have once doubled as a parking space. And above all of this are the box moths, part of nature yet somehow against it – and it is this reconciliation that sits at the heart of the pamphlet, waiting for readers to recognise themselves somewhere between the lines.” – Kate Garrett

“Sue Kindon generates here a fascinatingly tangential form of Ecopoetry.  Never declamatory but gently observational, these poems honour the natural world and the natural self via delicate imagery and a respectful reaching (behind what is said) towards the unsayable Ding an sich ‘in-forming’ all living things.  Meanwhile, a lively strand of modernist experimentalism dips in and out of the collection, vitalising the language and startling the reader like a sudden moth at the glass.”
– Mario Petrucci

When did you begin writing?

I can’t remember a time before I could physically write and I loved writing practice at Primary School – all those lovely patterns on the page. As for creative writing, I have the notebooks from when I was about 14, so I know I was writing poetry then. I stopped writing after University ( I think I was suffering from Literature Overload) and didn’t pick it up again until I was in my late forties, when a group started in the village where I lived in Cumbria  to read poetry. It turned out we were expected to write it, too.

Are you mainly drawn to writing poetry or do you also write prose?

My immediate reaction is to say I only write poetry, but that’s not strictly true, as I have a prize-winning Vignette and I have tried my hand at the odd flash fiction. Nothing long, though. I am a woman of few words.

When and where were you first published?

In the school magazine, late 1960s

Can you describe your journey to publication?

Moving on to the second stage of my writing “career”, the first poem I entered for a competition was highly commended. This was actually a very bad thing, because it gave me ideas above my status. It was some time before I had something accepted by a magazine, and for this I am eternally grateful to The North. In the interim, poems have appeared in all the magazines on my hit list, most frequently in Obsessed With Pipework, which has proved a natural home for my more surreal writings. Kate Garrett has also taken some of my stuff for Three Drops from a Cauldron and Picaroon. When Three Drops Press put out a call for submissions for a pamphlet, I responded, and the result was She who pays the piper, published in 2017. I am delighted that I had the opportunity to publish my second pamphlet with 4Word Press.

When and where do you write?

I write things in my head all the time. Some persist and get written down. I have a routine, that I don’t stick to, of getting up early and writing. If I don’t feel like writing, I read. My writing corner is part of our upstairs living room, at what was my mother’s desk, with a view down to the village and the mountains and ever-changing sky beyond.

Can you tell us a little about your writing process?

No idea, except that I prefer to put pen to paper rather than composing directly onto the computer. 

Do you think your style has changed over time?

I hope it has matured since those teenage notebooks! They are full of over-eager rhyme and mawkishness. However, I do see in them a strong sense of rhythm and pulse, and an ear for internal rhyme, which I think I have retained. I’m more interested in the space on the page these days, and the silence that surrounds a poem.

What writers influenced you and which poets do you continually go back to if any? 

When I get fed up with contemporary poetry, I go back to the poets I discovered when I was still at school – Blake, Keats, TS Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Michael Donaghy and Billy Collins. I went on a very memorable Arvon course tutored by Don Paterson and Jo Shapcott, and those two writers have been hugely influential. Also Jacob Polley, whose work I greatly admire. And M R Peacocke, who encouraged me when I rediscovered writing.

What are you reading now?

Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. Beth McDonough’s Lamping for Pickled Fish. The latest Obsessed With Pipework. 

What advice, if any, would you give to an aspiring poet?

Give yourself permission to write, and go for it. You only get one life.

For information about our other available pamphlets and their authors please see – https://www.4word.org/authors/

Outside, the Box is a striking collection and if you would like to order a copy (would make a wonderful Christmas gift), please contact us at https://www.4word.org/contact/  (£5.99 plus p&p)

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