A Cup of Coffee with George J. Cardy

Interview by Rebecca Rijsdijk

George J Cardy is a brand-new poet on our radar who writes about human relationships and her personal experiences. We had a little chat with her about her work and her influences. George's poetry can be found in our Winter 2020 Edition.

When did you become a poet? How did you know it was the right medium for your stories? 

I’ve only started writing and sharing my poetry this year.  I like the compressed nature of poetry, I think it can intensify an emotion or description in a very unique way.  

Who are some of your literary or artistic crushes?

I’m a huge fan of Margaret Atwood’s poetry (as well as her fiction and essays.)   

What are you currently reading? 

I’m currently reading ‘Bad Behavior’ by Mary Gaitskill.  It’s a collection of short stories.  I’ve been meaning to read it for ages and finally got around to ordering a copy.  It’s so good.

What are you working on next/what was your last project?  

I’d like to continue writing poems, as well as having a go at writing an essay or two, maybe even a short story?

Tag three of your favourite IG poets we should read: 

@fetching_mercury @the.headless.poetryman @polar_poems
(there are so many great ones, I’d love to choose more!)

What are some common themes you see in your own work? 

My work is very much based on personal experiences, so I would say the recurring theme is human relationships.

How do you beat writer's block? 

I find reading and re-reading books by writers than inspire me helps.  Listening to music works as well; I have a writing playlist I made on Spotify that I use.  On a practical level leaving the house and going to write in a different space, away from everyday chores and distractions can help motivate me.  Also, black coffee helps!

Do you feel that sharing your poetry is a vulnerable process?

I think it’s very vulnerable, in a scary way, but also freeing at the same time.

How many unfinished or unpublished books do you have?  

At least three unfinished!!

What or who influenced you to become a poet? 

I’ve always loved reading poetry, the first book of poems I read as a child was T.S Eliot’s ‘Book of Practical Cats,’ and then I discovered Leonard Cohen as a teen.  I’ve always enjoyed writing poetry too, but only recently plucked up the courage to start sharing my poems.

What is the first book that made you cry? 

‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl, aged 6. Not because I found it sad, quite the opposite; I love the fact it didn’t have a typical fairy tale ending, but I felt so transported I didn’t want the story to end.    

Do you take poetry classes or read books on poetry? 

I’ve read a couple of books on poetry, but I prefer to read actual books of poems for inspiration.  I have also taken a short course in literature specializing in poetry. 

Do your family and "real life" friends read your work? 

My partner reads all my poems before I show them to anyone else.  This can sometimes provoke a discussion about my grammatical choices – our last was on punctuation and ellipsis!  He’s more of a stickler whereas I believe rules are made to be broken.  Apart from him, I feel pretty shy about sharing my poetry with anyone I know, most people don’t know I write at all!  

How many finished books do you have? 

None yet, all work in progress! Maybe one day – that’s the dream.

What does "good poetry" mean to you? 

I don’t think you can really classify poems as good or bad, judging any writing is so subjective.  I think that if a poem, however long or short; whether it rhymes or the verse is free; resonates with you emotionally, and that creates a sort of connection between the writer and the reader, then that’s good.

What is your revision process like? 

Long and slow!  I’ll deliberate over a word or a semi-colon for ages – I’m a terrible decision maker!

What is your writing process like? 

I always keep a notebook in my bag, so if I get an idea for a poem I can scribble it down.  I also make little cut out collages that echo the mood of the poem alongside writing it.

How do you research for your poems?  

I think my poems are very much inspired by various real life past experiences, so often it’s a case of returning to a certain location or look at a photograph taken at a moment in time, to revoke particular memories.

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