19 November 2008 by Karin in Interviews,Poetry [ 9 comments ]
Jamaican poet, Dr. Velma Pollard along with Earl McKenzie are launching two books of poetry on Sunday, November 23 at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at 11 am. Earl McKenzie is launching Almond Leaf and Velma Pollard, Leaving Traces, both published by Peepal Tree Press this year. YardEdge talks to Velma Pollard…
YardEdge: Why are you a poet/writer?
Velma: Actually I have always been a teacher who writes. Now that I am retired I suppose I could start referring to myself as a writer.
YardEdge: When did you first realize that you wanted to write?
Velma: I don’t remember when I wasn’t writing but I think that was my mother’s fault. She encouraged it.
YardEdge: How would you describe your work?
Velma: As poetry and fiction about anything that is around me.
YardEdge: How did you develop your skill (s)?
Velma: It was not a conscious development but I have no doubt that my studies in Literature and Language at different levels exposed me to good writing and made me conscious of the need for the right word.
YardEdge: What do you consider the biggest challenges to being a writer?
Velma: The hassle of getting published.
YardEdge: Biggest rewards?
Velma: Having people appreciate my writing and actually get what I mean,
YardEdge: What other artists have influenced you and how?
Velma: Too many to mention. Certainly the Caribbean poets who are a few years older than I am . I am very conscious also of seventeenth century English poetry as one of the joys of my undergraduate days and so perhaps an influence.
YardEdge: What inspires you?
Velma: Interesting events and places.
YardEdge: Tell us about your recent work? What you are launching in November?
Velma: Leaving Traces, a collection of poems. It was due out two years ago and at one point I was a little anxious that it wouldn’t be out but I suppose “all’s well that ends well”.
YardEdge: How would people who know you describe you?
Velma: Greedy. Wanting everything out of life.
YardEdge: If you could be doing anything you wanted, what would that be?
Velma: What I am doing now. Exercise, Yoga etc. etc. instead of 8am lectures.
YardEdge: Last book you read?
Velma: Poisonwood Bible. Coincidentally just when the Congo has flared up again (?)
YardEdge: Any regrets?
YardEdge: Final thoughts?
Velma: I am particularly BLESSED: thoughtful children, lovely grandchildren, good friends, positive experiences. In fact everything that has happened to me (even what looks negative ) has, in the long run, been to my advantage. What better could I ask?