Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Great way not to make a living

Sean O’Brien, one of Britain’s most celebrated poets, said last night that he regarded his work more as an “affliction” than a career and would not recommend it to anyone, as he won the prestigious £10,000 Forward Poetry Prize for the third time.

Ra, ra, ra to Mr O’B for disclosing the realities of the moronic times we are living in and how impossible it has become for artists to make a basic living.  The extraordinary thing is how any book ever is written if you consider that it’s so damn difficult a thing to do, even on a technical level, and that’s before you address the matter of your stomach welding to your back like a set of bellows if you don’t feed it.

It’s really a savage process. Being an artist is akin to being devout you need to maintain a certain degree of delusion or suspended disbelief to keep going. 

 Emerging voices are the ones most at risk; there’s so little mentorship and possibility for them to become better writers.  Mr O’B has some advice:

He also urged younger poets to resist the modern- day urge to publish before their work had matured. “I don’t think people necessarily need to rush into print. It might be a good idea to really learn the craft than think about publishing. Because of the way we live, people want instant results but poetry doesn’t perform in that way,” he said.

It’s not just poetry, sometimes people will tell you a story doesn’t quite “work”, but they’ll rarely tell you how you might fix it. The only route to acquire such knowledge these days would appear to be staring at the thing til some kind of divine intervention intercedes with a refusal to budge from it and the damn thing improves. 

 My next question is has it always been this bad? 

 Rest of the newspaper piece on Mr Poet  here

Leave a Reply