I'm a novelist, poet, critic and sometimes writer for and about the theatre. Each of these things keeps interrupting the others. My poetry and criticism have won prizes. I'm the author of the popular and critically acclaimed fantasy quartet The Books of Pellinor, the Gothic fantasy Black Spring and The River and the Book, a forthcoming speculative fiction novel. In English, my novels are published with Walker Books (UK and Australia), Candlewick (US) and Penguin Books Australia. I have self-published two novels as Kindle ebooks: the literary memoir Navigatio and Jimmy Wonderspoon, a story that I wrote for my 10-year-old daughter. Presently I'm writing The Bone Queen, a prequel to the Books of Pellinor. You can find out more at alisoncroggon.com. And you can follow me on twitter at @alisoncroggon.

Why "Reimkennar"? It's an old word for sorceress that stems from old Germanic: literally "rhyme knower". Seems like a good title for a fantasy novelist slash poet slash whatever.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Australian Poetry Library, a site run from the University of Sydney, is an excellent resource for anyone interested in Australian poetry. It features hundreds of poems, biographies and further reading on a wide selection of Australian poets, and has a goodly selection of mine (although none from my most recent collections). This week they've made me feature poet, and they interviewed me, which I rather enjoyed. They also asked me to choose a poem from their collection and talk about it. From the interview:

Why do you write poetry?

I’ve never been quite sure why. I’ve written it for as long as I can remember. I experience the desire to write it as a kind of pressure, an internal necessity that eventually emerges in a poem.

Is poetry important?

I don’t know how to answer that. The fact is that it’s not important to many people: they get by their whole lives without encountering it, and who is to say they are the worse for that? I’m reluctant to proselytise about poetry: why should anyone read it, if they don’t want to? It’s important to me. It’s an art in which language is placed under pressure and investigated in ways which question the assumptions that we make about it, as creatures who use language every day without thinking. Poetry is like contemporary dance in that way: just as dance takes the body and its gestures as material, and treats them in all sorts of investigative ways, poetry plays with the materiality of language, foregrounding attributes that tends to be glossed in everyday life: its sonic and sensuous properties, its manipulativeness, its expressiveness, the tensions between abstraction and representation, and so on. It’s important, I guess, as a way of thinking, in the larger sense in which thought and feeling are integrated. It’s a way of becoming more conscious, as a reader and as a writer.

You can read the rest of the interview at the Australian Poetry Library.

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