|Posted on July 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM|
Poetical Tv: Hi Mike. Could you introduce yourself to the world and tell us a little bit about yourself including how long you have been writing poetry for?
Mike: I am a scientist by day and do poetry by night. So, for the science bit, I study hospitals, health research and also write on science policy. There are lots of big changes happening in science at the moment, from open data sharing to new modes of science communication – so it’s very exciting to be involved.
I have been reading and writing poetry avidly since age 14, but I generally collected my writing in big bundles of paper or in sprawling files on my computer and showed no-one. I have always regarded myself as a poet just as much as a scientist, even though the poetry was a secret internal life just for me. Then last year, I came back to London after being away for 10 years (working in Switzerland and Slovenia), and started reading a few poems at the Poetry Café. I got hooked and was soon reading and performing elsewhere, competing in slams, being invited to feature at poetry evenings or being booked at other events. It’s been a very intense year and I’ve loved it.
Poetical Tv: And what type of poetry most interest you?
Mike: I like the poetry that I read or watch performed to have a good structure (visually in terms of mental imagery, rhythmically, philosophically) and its own unique flavour. Poetry is meant to be a source of creativity so I like individual poets and poems to have their own distinct voice and a style of presentation that surprises me in some way. Anything that incorporates new elements that I haven’t seen before immediately grabs my attention and curiosity.
Poetical Tv: How would you describe the poetry you most often write?
Mike: As diverse as I can make it. You can’t tick all the boxes in one poem – to try to do so would probably ruin a poem. However, as a poet you can tick all your boxes of artistic curiosity by creating varied pieces that borrow from the jars of darkness, music, comedy, theatre, speech-making, confusion, energy, impressions, rap, dreams, etc - according to the needs of the little world that you are trying to create for that moment in time. So I have fun “comic” pieces, rhythmical dark balladic stories, political rants, poems of fear, fantasies of love.
Poetical Tv: Are there any poets past or present who have had a significant influence on you?
Mike:Edgar Allan Poe. I love reading the old masters – particularly Shakespeare and Wordsworth, but for me EAP marked a break in style. So much more darkly fantastical and fluid than what I had come across before. Philip Larkin is another one. His language is so well-balanced that it is at times magical to read. And then he adds that very subtle twist of cynicism, pain or doubt.
.. and the war poets - how they bring that era to life in such a visual, urgent and personal way. These are people who could die the next day desperately trying to bundle up intense experience into capsules of writing.
As to current poets, there is just as much beautiful imagery I hear on a weekly basis on the scene as what I can find in all the old tomes of the “greats”. I am constantly coming across things I want to steal. Plus there is (despite a preponderance of an over-used spoken word style) a lot of variety out there. It’s a bubbling primordial soup.
Poetical Tv: So what poem of yours would you say would best introduce people to you as a poet?
Mike: Probably “The Shrew”. It’s my fun David Attenborough impersonation.
Poetical Tv: Aside from Poetry what else do you feel most passionately about?
Mike: Science! Like with poetry, there’s a lot of deep thought and soul satisfaction that goes with it. Science and poetry are both very empowering on individual and social levels, helping us discover ways to see the world more clearly and with angles of fascination we never expected.
Poetical Tv: So true. So when it comes to Mike Galsworthy the performer, what can people expect from your performances on stage?
Mike: Usually something theatrical. I’ve taken recently to doing sets with costume changes so I can do different poems in different characters.
Poetical Tv: And what has been your proudest achievement to date as a poet & what would you still love to achieve not only as a poet but as a person?
Mike: All the bookings I have had. It’s impossible to pick one, it’s just very rewarding that I’m enjoying what I am doing and other people are asking to see more of it.
To achieve as a person? I have adventure stories that I tell my kids at bedtime. It has a cast of cartoon-like characters that have grown over time. My kids and I draw pictures around these stories too. We know what all the goodies, baddies and magical animals look like! I really must get this written up a a book or books.
Poetical Tv: And last question, how can people find out more about you or connect with you online Mike?
Mike: Look up my channel on YouTube. If you like that, there are some more bits and pieces on Soundcloud. I must add more, currently it's only a fraction.
Poetical Tv: Thank you Mike.
(*Interview by @ThePoetSinclair Exclusively for PoeticalTv*)
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