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Life Experience And Imagination

Author Interview
Carla de Goede Author Interview

Like a Small City is an anthology of poetry sharing dark moments and a celebration of survival from those dark moments. What was the inspiration for this collection of poetry? 

While I think the collection as a whole, flows well together, I actually worked on the poems individually only writing the occasional poem in response or juxtaposition to a previously written poem.

So the inspiration for the individual poems was life experience and imagination blended together though not all poems have the same measure of both in them.

Also some of them come out of writing exercises or were inspired by reading other poems or observing things. For example ‘The crumpled people huddle’ was inspired by the rental crisis. While ‘Leaf City’ was inspired by the racial discrimination of dark skinned people.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I suppose because I have a long history of illness and have experienced a lot of violence these themes naturally reared their heads up time and again. Also things about the art of writing popped in too.

But I also like to write a lot of character vignettes too and by doing this I hope to build greater empathy in readers while also exploring other themes in my work which keeps it more interesting for me as I develop as a writer. Which also means I’m not just stuck with my own history. I can explore other things.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this collection of poetry?

I guess the only thing I stuck too was to write regularly. I usually write two to three times a week. And each sitting, I usually write two or three first draft poems. And it’s amazing how it adds up. But not all the poems went in the book.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

While I’m still writing poetry, the next big project I’d like to do is a play. Hopefully this and another collection of poems will be available in about three years.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Carla de Goede’s poems are poems of the celebration of survival. And they are a celebration, even the harrowing, the startling, the shocking poems. They celebrate the survival of the poet and the survival of her attempts to understand her world and to communicate her understanding to us.

Although most of her poems seem centred in an urban world, they are infused with an arcadian magic. Buildings, seen from a train, are ‘running like concrete emus’. Pedestrians walk past ‘like speeding skinks’. An abandoned house is ‘all dark windows / and skulking cats’. A white-coated scientist is ‘like a kite stuck in a tree’. The natural world is everywhere in her poems and refuses to be excluded.

De Goede’s poems are intriguing, unsettling, hopeful, and joyful. She writes of ‘scraping ink together / like I know what I’m doing’.

She knows what she’s doing.

Like a Small City

How can one thing be many things at once? Like a Small City by Carla de Goede is a delightful collection of poems that will have readers pose this question that seems almost paradoxical. And yet, through her use of language, De Goede manages to create a literary universe that embodies this very concept. The poems in this collection delve into dark and painful places, exploring the deep grief that accompanies loss. But even as they do so, they offer glimpses of hope and redemption, showing how victory and renewed strength can emerge from even the most challenging circumstances.

One of the defining features of this collection is the author’s use of language and literary devices. De Goede weaves her characters seamlessly into nature, incorporating animal and plant references in unexpected ways. These references take on a life of their own, creating a festival with the confetti of imagination. “your handprint would remain forever, a bird settling down to roost….” Despite the beauty of the natural world that permeates the poems, the stories they tell are not always easy to bear. They delve into the complexities of human relationships, exploring the pain of memories that cannot be erased and the struggle to survive in abusive situations. Throughout it all, De Goede keenly observes the world and its people, expressing her vision with honesty and insight. The end to memory is erasure, but like in a small city, little impacts leave their mark for a long time. This is well-captured in the poem ‘Suburbia after the Party’ as the author tries to reconcile the beauty of yesterday with the present aesthetics, which she considers carnage.

Due appreciation must be given for De Goede’s skillful use of metaphors to weave her narratives. They create vivid imagery and unveil hidden voices. These poetic metaphors allow the reader to fully embody the work while still leaving plenty of white space for individual interpretation.

As De Goede herself notes, writing a poem in a time of argument is something you can’t start just anywhere. Instead, it requires a careful balance of skill and inspiration – a balance she has achieved in this powerful collection, Like a Small City.

Pages: 145 | ASIN : B0BPMJGBRC

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