Interview with Andrew Taylor: Art in Writing – Coming off the Page.
Written by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney.
Photograph Tony Knox © 2006 and Peter Griffiths © 2006 (Portrait Taylor).
Friday 25 March 2007.
Andrew Taylor is a poet and writer and a member to Transvoyeur. His work is published in many independent publications in England and abroad, such as Turn for Home (The Brodie Press), Poetry and Skin Cream (Erbacce Press),and Cathedral Poems (Paula Brown Publishing) and much more.
He has been featured in many publications and participated in large-scale poetry events nationally and internationally. His writing style is one of an abstract form, at times autobiographical, but these are residues of experience and memory deconstructed and reconstructed. He has explored the concept of text and prose through various media of art installation and collaborated with many artists.
Taylor discuss with Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney his current work and his writing practice in an interview.
Sweeney: When did you first become interest creative writing and recognise yourself as a writer?
Taylor: I wrote song lyrics as a member of a band in Liverpool in the 1980s. As an undergraduate I wrote short fiction and when I embarked on the MA in Writing Studies at Edge Hill University, I started writing poetry.
Sweeney: Can you explain your work?
Taylor: Erm, it’s poetry! I think it’s better for others to explain my poetry really.
Sweeney: Your work explores creative writing through poems and prose. Can you explain how you develop an idea from onset to the end?
Taylor: That’s quite difficult really. I have been fortunate to be involved in three poetry residencies which I feel allows me to focus on a particular area with a certain sense of permission. The ideas within such a context are usually framed by an experience such as a residency. Generally though, ideas can come from anywhere.
Sweeney: You have explored different processes of presenting your work in a spatial, cultural and social context. Can you extend on this and explain the fundamentals of exploring different modes of expression for written text?
Taylor: I like the idea of poetry coming off the page and into spaces like art galleries and other public places. As poetry is usually heard and read, to see poems on the Underground or in a gallery space is refreshing. It has been a rewarding experience to see poems of mine displayed in galleries and offers a different perspective to both the poet and the audience. However, the newer mediums of web-based poetry journals, for me, will never replace the traditional small press publication.
Sweeney: What writers and artists have inspired you and why?
Taylor: I have to mention Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough as they collectively where the first ‘proper’ poets I read. My experience of poetry prior to this was to learn off by heart, Keats and Wordsworth at school – not a pleasant experience. Not that I disliked the poetry, just the method of engaging with it. Henri in particular was a revelation. Later came Charles Bukowski, whose realism made me realise the vastness of subject matter in poetry. Other Americans such as Frank O’Hara Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder followed. I really admire Jack Kerouac’s work as a poet – a much underrated poet, better known for his fiction. Since studying poetry and researching for a PhD my interest has widened to include British poets such as Tom Raworth, Robert Sheppard, Allen Fisher, Lee Harwood and Roy Fisher, all poets who can broadly be described as ‘experimental’. An interest in poetics usually determines what kind of poetry I read nowadays.
Sweeney: What subjects shape and influence your work and how?
Taylor: Previous interests have been largely the urban environment, mainly because of my residency at Liverpool Architecture and Design Trust and my Doctoral research; perhaps Henri’s influence has had a role to play in this too. My recent residency at The Loft Space Gallery in Liverpool has allowed a different perspective to the urban environment as the Gallery is in the loft of a terraced house. The latest poems relating to this residency have been chiefly about the experiences of attending the space weekly and the art that has been shown on a weekly basis.
Sweeney: What motivates you to create in this mode of expression and media in your practices?
Taylor: Within a residency there is a sense of ‘having’ to produce some work – I guess that can be called a motivational tool. Also, I am a poet, I write, it’s what I do.
Sweeney: Do you use any other media as research source or in production of your writing?
Taylor: I sometimes refer to photographs if I’m writing about a certain subject matter, pretty much as an artist may sketch an idea before creating a painting or sculpture. Also the internet is an excellent research tool and for reading other poetry.
Sweeney: What do you plan for the future as a writer in your professional practice?
Taylor: I hope to have my fourth publication out this year – a pamphlet of poems written during the Loft Space residency. An early collected poems was to be released last year but its delay now seems pretty permanent due to difficulties that the publisher has been experiencing. As co-editor of a small press poetry journal I hope to keep publishing quality poetry from around the world. I will be continuing my doctoral research and submitting my thesis early in 2008.
Sweeney: What are the positive and negative experiences of being an writer?
Taylor: Seeing work in print is always a positive experience as is the reactions from people who have bought or read the books. A major positive has been meeting like minded poets at the Edge Hill University Poetry and Poetics Research Group chaired by Professor Robert Sheppard. The negatives are few and far between. Getting time to write and research at the same time is tough. As is understanding certain editors who will only publish their friends in funded poetry journals that is pretty nasty I guess.
Sweeney: What do you want to be remembered for?
Further information on Taylor’s work can be viewed at:
For future events Taylor’s is involved with Transvoyeur: