Hello my lovely nerdy reader people! Keep them submissions a’rollin’ in please; this round has been particularly fruitful so far. I can always make issues bigger though. We’re still looking for cover art, but there’s plenty of time left.
So we used to do interviews with all of our author in each issue, but we stopped because I’m awful and lazy. But no more! (I’m still actually awful and lazy, but we’re doing the interviews again). First up is the winner of our 3rd Annual Flash Poetry Contest, Audrey El-Osta, who won for “Primavera” but also got in with another poem, “Rolling Papers.”
Describe your writing in 25 words or less.
I want to transport people with imagery, and atmosphere, and hit them with all the feelings at the last minute.
Is this your first contest win? How does it feel?
This is actually my second contest win, but it feels just as wonderful as the first, if not more. There’s something about American money, in it’s green, paper ephemera nature that just feels so much more satisfying than a cheque (which I got for the first win).
Tell us about your poems “Primavera” and “Rolling Papers.”
Primavera is a little homage to springtime, new love, realising you were lonelier than you thought you were, and hoping you don’t have to be that lonely again.
Rolling Papers is about the person who taught me how to roll cigarettes, who also taught me about heartbreak, depression, suicide. It’s nothing-last’s-forever rolled up into 25 lines.
What’s the literary scene like in Melbourne?
Melbourne is a strange and wonderful place to be an emerging writer. There are plenty of organisations that support the arts, namely The Wheeler Centre which is dedicated to literature and annexed to our State Library (also host to the Emerging Writer’s Festival!). There are university magazines and anthologies, big-time professional journals like Overland and Meanjin, and then there’s this huge, underground zine culture (thanks to the Sticky Institute) which is almost equally dominant. With poetry, there’s a whole extra world of spoken word and performance gigs as well.
Who or what influences your writing?
The first poet I ever read and loved was Gwen Harwood, an Australian poet and librettist. I read her poetry for Year 12 Literature and absolutely fell in love; everything about her work was so well written and yet had so much fun. Playful and punny, and unafraid to be serious and silly all at once. It’s hard to choose between certain pieces, but if I were to make any recommendations I would chooseNight and Dreams.
After Harwood, I found Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, and then delved deeper into Australian women’s poetry to find Dorothy Porter and Lesbia Harford.
Do you have a blog or a website for your work?
Where’s the next place we can read your work?
Slink Chunk Press, where I have also become the poetry editor!
What are you working on right now?
Right this very minute, I’m preparing for the Writer-In-Residence program starting June 29th
at the Cowwarr Arts Space!
I’ll be using this residency to physically and mentally detach from my usual writing space and make some serious edits on some existing poems, and perhaps write some new work.
Overall, I’m balancing poetry and my BA, and I’m working to have a full collection of poems published by the time I start Honours.
Do you have any advice for your fellow writers?
Read, read, read. Be gracious, and thank editors for their rejection letters, and always submit again. Don’t be afraid of competitions, and if you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, chances are the person you’re comparing yourself to feels the same way.
Anything else you’d like to get out?