Maria Taylor, Poet, Visits School
Maria Taylor, poet, visited school and read some of her poetry in assembly. Afterwards she was interviewed by Zakira Asra in Y13, and revealed some of the secrets of her success.
From what age did you begin writing poetry and has it always been your passion?
I wrote a lot of poems when I was a little girl. I found a poem I wrote when I was 11 the other day. I was an older teenager though, when my passion for writing poetry really emerged. I had a few years off though and didn’t write seriously until I was much older, but it came back stronger than ever.
From what or who do you take most of the inspiration for your poems?
From life – anything and everything! My poetry tends to be autobiographical, although sometimes I’m inclined to be a little more quirky or surreal. Sometimes a phrase or an image will just pop into my head and I know it’s time to reach for a pen. I love it when ideas bubble up to the surface.
Is it often a long process to complete your poems?
Sometimes it can be surprisingly quick, but it can also be a long process! Sometimes I can draft several, no make that hundreds of versions of poems. I keep a notebook which is full of drafts and scribbles. All of my typed drafts are kept in files on the computer. I keep most of my drafts. The things I delete one day might be very useful another time. I’d really recommend keeping a notebook. You can’t keep it all in your head. It’ll pop!
As well as poetry you have also written many reviews, do you intend to become involved in other areas of literature in the future?
I would absolutely love to write a novel, who wouldn’t? Aside from writing there’s also editing and publishing. It would be really great to edit and put together an anthology, I did edit a magazine on and off a few years ago. It’s a great learning experience to be an editor.
Your work has been published in magazines such as The North and The Guardian, but how important are other forms of media, such as social media and the internet, for your poetry?
Most writers nowadays use social media all the time for sharing ideas, news and photos of their dinner. I do think it’s only natural that writers spend a lot of time online because they spend a great deal of time on computers. Also, you spend long hours working by yourself, so social media is the equivalent of having a chat over a tea break. It’s good to have work published on-line because that way people find out about you.
Lastly, what advice can you give to any students who may be considering a career in creative writing?
Writing isn’t always a ‘career’ as such, but you never know where it may lead. If you’re serious about writing then you’re probably reading as well as writing. Keep a notebook for your ideas and write regularly. Make use of some the exciting resources available to young writers too, such as the Foyle Young Poets. Or start with putting together your own magazine, ask other students to contribute something. Writing is often done in isolation, but it’s important to be supported and offer support to others. Very best of luck! Thanks for your questions.
Interview by Zakira Asra, Media and Marketing Prefect