Everyone, welcome Daniel Hinds to our Contributor Interview series, a routine blog feature that introduces you to the wonderful writers whose work will be featured in our upcoming anthology, Byline Legacies.
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“Daniel’s prose poem ‘Author Bio’ is hilariously tongue in cheek, simultaneously making me want to talk lit over beer and question the many ways in which we accept our realities, even when quality begs us to question everything.”
— Jaime Dill, editor for Cardigan Press
[E] Welcome, Daniel, to our interview series! We’d like to kick off by asking — what genre/age ranges do you typically write for?
I mostly write poetry for publication in literary magazines. I will make the occasional foray into prose, though I try to avoid this; I have a twin brother who is also a writer, and early on we decided he would take prose and I would take poetry so there was no competition between us! I am very happy with this arrangement, as poems are a lot quicker to write than a novel, so I can spend more time on other things, like mocking him while he tries to write. (I am the evil twin.)
While I have never really limited myself to a particular genre or subject for my poems, looking at the poems I have written so far, I do seem to have a tendency to write elegies and eco-poems. I have also been working to place a greater emphasis on narrative in my work; I wrote a few narrative poems towards the end of 2020, which I am really pleased with, so I am hoping to write a few more of these. One of them, ‘The Siren Star’ (published by Fly on the Wall Press Magazine in January), was actually an idea for a sci-fi short story which I decided to write as a poem instead (partly because I had lost my notes for the short story). Given that I had planned to write it as a genre prose piece, I found I employed a different vocabulary to my usual poems, so I may try this again in the future too. Another perk of writing it as a poem rather than a short story was I had more time for the aforementioned mockery of my twin brother.
I wouldn’t say I have a particular age range in mind when I write. In terms of the ideal readership for the particular piece coming out in the Byline Legacies anthology, the more familiar the reader is with the world of literary publications and submissions, the more they will enjoy it. Given the theme of Byline Legacies, I think the poem has found its perfect home and readership!
[E] Absolutely! We are delighted to help you further antagonize your brother with witty poetry success! ‘Author Bio’ is a delightfully fun piece that is sure to make our readership chuckle. How would you say it compares to your typical poetry?
My poetry tends to be about mythology or folklore, responding to and rewriting old myths or creating new ones. In particular, I have written a lot of poems about aquatic myths (especially the sirens). I did an MA in English Literature 1500-1900, so a lot of my literary grounding is in older works, especially the Romantic poets. However, I also take poetic inspiration from more modern writers like Ted Hughes, T. S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, and David Jones. It was while reading Hughes’s Tales from Ovid when I was an undergraduate that I first realized I wanted to write poetry. Since university, I have read a lot of contemporary writers (like Terrance Hayes and Jay Bernard), and I am sure this has helped me develop as a writer too.
Given the mythological subject matter of a lot of my poems, the prose poem I have coming out with Cardigan Press is something of a departure, in that it is much more overtly comic, though a lot my poems have blackly comic or punchy endings (an early encounter with Ted Hughes’s Crow is definitely a big influence here). My prose poem in Byline Legacies is a parody of the author biographies found in literary magazines, and elsewhere. It makes fun of some of the tropes and grandiose claims of the author bios we are all so used to seeing (and writing – I include myself as amongst those skewered by the poem). I’ve allowed myself to be a bit sillier in this poem than in a lot of my published works. Where I have written parodies and satire in the past, it has tended to be more for private circulation. I write a section of a continuing parody of the Narnia books every Christmas to amuse my family, and I wrote a pastiche of Gulliver’s Travels at university (between the tall and the tiny people, I expanded the novel with a chapter where Gulliver meets the wide people).
I have also ventured into writing some more experimental poems too. I write prose poem book reviews that blur the line between creative and critical practices by utilizing pastiche, critical analysis, and poetic responses to create a new means of dialogue with other poets. I have found that these work better for themed collections, and I tend to write them for collections I like, as these are the ones I am most inspired to respond to. I suppose I can include my Byline Legacies poem as amongst these more experimental pieces too, as it is pushing away from what a poem usually constitutes.
[E] Oh, now we’re jealous that you didn’t submit one of THOSE, too! Poetry is always more fun when you push the norms and approach topics from new angles. We’re so excited for readers to check out ‘Author Bio’ within Byline Legacies, come September. Until then, how can readers best support you?
I usually post on Twitter whenever I have a new poem or review published, so following me @DanielGHinds is the best way to keep up with my writing. If you want to read some of my poems online, you can do so in: Wild Court, The Honest Ulsterman, Blackbox Manifold, Amethyst Review, Selcouth Station, Newcastle University’s One Planet Anthology, Riggwelter, Streetcake Magazine, and Nightingale & Sparrow.
Or if you would like to seek out some of my print publications, you find my poems in The London Magazine, The New European, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, Fly on the Wall Press Magazine, Finished Creatures, The Seventh Quarry, Rewilding: An Ecopoetic Anthology, BFS Horizons, Orbis, and The Wilfred Owen Association Journal.
I also have poems coming out in The Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-2021 anthology, Stand magazine, and Perverse this year, plus a few other places I am not allowed to talk about yet!
I am also currently working with New Creatives North, a talent development scheme supported by Arts Council England and BBC Arts and delivered by Tyneside Cinema, to produce an audio piece based on my poetic sequence The Stone Men of Newcastle. While I have made recordings of myself reading my poems that have been published alongside some of my print publications, creating a work specifically for audio is new to me, and something I am very excited about. The sequence is additionally a departure for me in that it is much more locally focused than any of the poems I have written previously. The sequence is about the statues of Newcastle and their place in the modern city; what statues represent and how we interact with them has become very topical across the UK since I submitted my application for the commission, with statues vandalized and torn down, and campaigns for them to be removed.
The publication of individual poems in literary magazines and anthologies has been my main focus since I started writing and submitting in fervor, near the end of 2019. However, I am now nearing enough poems to start thinking about the next steps in my poetic trajectory; hopefully I will soon be ready to start submitting a full collection to publishers and writing larger works, such as the sequence I am working on with New Creatives North. I would also be interested in publishing a chapbook or pamphlet in the near future as well.
[E] We know that nothing will stop you after coming this far, Daniel! And you’ll always have us in your corner. Thanks so much for hanging out with us and being part of the Byline Legacies debut!
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