Thoughts Words Action blog spoke with her about the upcoming book, her writing techniques, approaches, themes, and other fun stuff. Enjoy!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. How have you been?
Edie: Hi Djordje…Thank you for the opportunity to answer them! I’ve been well, thanks, considering the world is on fire and there is no hope. But it’s all good, because, as you know, it’s actually Time For My Generation to DIE (Ahem) So maybe I’ll get out of it relatively unscathed. (Sorry, future generations).
What initially inspired you to become a poet and writer?
Edie: As long as I can remember, I’ve thought in rhyme. I wrote my first poem when I was 5 years old. It was shit, but it rhymed. So, because I think in rhyme, I tend to write in rhyme—it’s not a choice. I am a poet who detests most poetry, yet I am destined to write it. I guess that’s my personal paradox.“Time For My Generation to DIE” more focuses on your poetry, while “Old West” is more of a mixture of poetry and photography.
What particularly inspired you to work on two slightly different projects?
Edie: Probably the many stories in my head trying to get attention all at once. I get inspiration from any number of places. TFMGTD is observational poetry that usually tells a story, much of it humorous or irreverent, while Old West is actually a personal philosophy book. I have always taken photos as well as writing, and the union of the two seemed natural for that book. As far as them being different projects, yes, they are very different, as I hope all my projects will be. I never want to be pigeon-holed. I think it’s important to stretch creatively and use your voice in different ways. It keeps your writing fresh, and your readers on their toes.
Can you share some insights into your writing techniques and your creative process?
Edie: I don’t have any particular techniques or creative process that I can point to. I often feel like I am merely a conduit for random words and thoughts that are already floating out there in the ether, and I just have the ability to bring them together into some form of coherency from time to time. I don’t take writing classes, I don’t go to workshops, I do not partake in writing prompts, and I don’t actually think about my process. I just write. I rarely ask for feedback, and then, only from those whose aesthetics I completely trust. I write whenever it hits—and that’s not all the time. One thing I’ve learned is that I can’t force good writing. It comes to me. I may have dry days, months, or even years, but now I can trust that it will return—that hasn’t always been the case.
Your poetry utilizes strong imagery and emotional depth. How do you approach crafting such evocative language and themes?
Edie: Well, first of all, thank you for the kind words. It’s a hard question to answer, but I’ll try to be specific. Every poem I write can take weeks, sometimes months and occasionally years to write, finesse and complete. My poems often start out as one idea and end up as something completely different. I always like to think of challenging ways to evoke a visual imagery, sometimes that comes through pure thought, sometimes in a dream, sometimes when I’m driving down the street. In other words, I can get inspired and assassinated by my thoughts any time and for any reason…One thing I’ve learned is to respect and have patience with my personal process as it can’t be forced. And I usually end up having to throw away the lines or phrases I love most when they don’t serve the poem and only serve my ego. That is probably the hardest thing to reckon. But I suppose a fair summary of my craft is that I am always looking for a unique way to evoke a brain-branding image in as few words as possible. I also like to think that I write for the general public, that any person from any walk of life can read or hear my work, understand it, and take away something from it.
Are there any particular authors or poets who have influenced or inspired your work? If so, in what ways?
Edie: Yes, some author’s excellence has inspired me, but I can’t say anyone in particular has influenced me. As far as contemporary authors, a couple of my favourites are Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk. I love how inventive they are with their use of language—That’s some really exciting and challenging reading. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren, and Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (who created my favourite antihero ever—Pinky,) are among my all-time favourite fiction novels. The Great Mortality by John Kelly, The Land of Opportunity: One Family’s Quest for the American Dream in the Age of Crack by William Adler, Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, and Among the Thugs by Bill Buford come to mind as some favourite contemporary nonfiction. As far as contemporary poets: few and far between, I’m afraid, and most of them are unheard of… to be perfectly honest, I find good contemporary poetry to be as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster.
How do you think your writing style and approach have evolved since your first publication?
Edie: Well, my earlier books have all been for children, so I’m not sure my writing has evolved as much as expanded for an adult audience.
Your poetry often reflects a sense of introspection and contemplation. How do you balance personal reflection with addressing broader themes that resonate with readers?
Edie: I’m somewhat surprised by that question. If you think my work is introspective and contemplative, that’s lovely. But really, what I do is tell stories. Yes, they are layered, but they are, for the most part, ballads and lyrics and tall tales. If they make people laugh—and maybe even think—then I’ve done my job. In regards to balancing my own personal reflection, I try to keep a distant voice so that it doesn’t interfere with the reader’s experience. I don’t like to inform people how to interpret my work, it’s a personal experience.
Your writing often delves into historical and cultural themes. How do you conduct research for your writing, and how do you ensure historical accuracy while maintaining a creative approach?
Edie: All the academics reading this are gonna hate my answer: I don’t conduct research for my writing. I allow imagery to come to me. Then, if pertinent, I’ll check it for historical or cultural accuracy, such as who was president at that time, or what something tasted or sounded like. Honestly, most of what I write about lives in my head already and is just looking for a conduit for release.
How do you see the role of poetry and literature in today’s society, and what impact do you hope your work has?
Edie: Poetry is one of the most honest forms of expression, when done well. But like I said, I haven’t much time for contemporary poetry. I also don’t believe, as many do these days that “anything can be poetry.” Truly good poetry requires discipline and thought—Not just vomiting up random thoughts about lost love on your keyboard. As harsh as this sounds, no one cares about your broken heart, suicidal thoughts, or dead grandpa…. But they might be interested in an intricate, rhyming tale about murder and mayhem. So in regards to impact: I guess I hope my work makes people go “Huh…..”.
What do you hope readers take away from your poetry and prose?
Edie: I’ve always said this, if my words have a positive effect on even one individual, then I’m a success. I hope it inspires young punks and those generally feeling disenfranchised by the modern world to keep creating, expressing, and to never settle.
Can you discuss any specific challenges or breakthroughs you’ve experienced in your writing career?
Edie: Challenges have been many. Rejection, erroneous comparison to others, having long periods of time where the juice wasn’t flowing, (especially when I was younger, and I questioned if it would ever come back), and concern I had nothing left to say. Breakthroughs: giving myself permission to put out books, handing my poetry to Joe Strummer (I doubt he ever read it, but I was glad I did it), performing at some amazing venues in the East Village in New York when I lived and was part of the ‘80s art scene, having strangers tell me my work sang to them. But above and beyond everything, my biggest breakthrough—by far—has been working with my publisher, David Gamage at Earth Island Books (https://www.earthislandbooks.com/). David has enthusiastically taken my work to another level. Before I met David, I was self-published with limited visibility. He probably has inspired me to write more than most anyone because of his confidence in my current and future work.
Do you have any upcoming projects or plans for future writing that you can share with your readers?
Edie: Yes! I am working on the audio version of Time for My Generation to DIE, it’s been a blast putting that together. Each poem is getting individual treatment, so it’s an album with music and sound effects rather than a simple spoken word audio book. I’m hoping to release that in early 2024. My next book will be a combination of short stories, poetry, and friends’ art. I know a lot of astounding and obscure visual artists, and I’d love to give them some visibility. I will start coordinating that in 2024, likely for release in 2025. Finally, I am always populating my You Tube channel with new work for those who would like to see performances of my work. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVjkUwiMzedylZEWoFD-Bqg
As well as the never-ending work on my website: https://ediedevans.com/
What advice would you give to aspiring poets and writers who are looking to carve out their path in the literary world?
Edie: Just write for the love of it. Do not write for fame, money or attention, because chances are pretty good you’ll attain none of that. Write from your heart, write from your soul. Listen to good, thoughtful criticism, but don’t let it define you. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t write, because even if you aren’t a gifted writer, creative expression is paramount to the human experience.That’s it.
Thank you so much for your time. Anything you would like to say to our readers at the end of this interview?
Edie: Yes, of course! First of all, if you have bought, read, or listened to my work, thank you from the bottom of my heart…and if anyone out there gets any inspiration from my words, I am eternally grateful. Finally, here’s the links to purchase my books:
Time for My Generation to DIE:
Earth Island Books (U.K)
Silver Street Media (U.S)
Old West: A Fable of the Gluttony of Understanding:
Silver Street Media (U.S)
Coming soon to Earth Island Books
Thanks so much for the questions Djordje! I’m so grateful for your time, attention and interest. Hopefully we can do it all over again someday soon.