Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?
I took an interest in creative writing from a very young age; as a kid I used to enjoy writing and illustrating my own short stories and then presenting them to my mum and dad to read and appraise. To be honest, I had very little interest in writing poetry until I went to university, at which time I was exposed to a lot of fantastic writing as part of my French & German BA. Even then, I was still pretty emotionally immature and couldn’t bring myself to get my feelings down on paper. I was a big volcano of emotion and sentiment just waiting to erupt! When I arrived in the world of work, the floodgates opened. The daily victories and struggles associated with being ‘a grown-up’ seemed to give me that extra push I needed to open up in that way. Favourite poets? Oscar Wilde always springs to mind straight away, as does Charles Baudelaire.
How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poetry?
I find that if I actively try to schedule writing into my day, it just doesn’t happen. My best ideas seem to come at the most inopportune times. I’ll be in a meeting (yes, I have a 9-5 alas!) and suddenly a line will hit me and I’ll be compelled to run with it! In terms of my own personal idea of what poetry is, I’ve definitely tried to stop adhering to what I think other people expect from a poem. It’s too restricting. Nowadays as long as I’m happy with it, that’s all that counts!
Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?
Indeed I am, feel free to add me on Facebook! My twitter handle is @Mr_ChristieLuke and my personal website is christielukejones.com. Obviously it’s nice to get a mention on any of those when one of my poems/short stories is published, mainly though I like to keep abreast of other new writing – it keeps me on my toes in the sense that if I see something really good written by someone else, I’ll think ‘Come on, Christie, time to step things up and get writing again!’.
Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?
I share my work with any literary zine/journal that particularly catches my eye (your good selves at WISH included!), likewise I have quite a large group of creative/arty friends who I like to throw a poem at now and again…that way if I’m churning out something fairly generic they can scribble all over it with a red marker and send me back to the drawing board. Right now I’m reading a big collection of short stories by H P Lovecraft. Honestly, I can’t get enough of his writing. If you read enough of my work you’ll probably see a few Lovecraftian flourishes dotted around. The whole Cthulhu mythos is just so addictive; you think you’ve kicked the habit and then you get sucked into reading just one more story. Give it a go!
What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?
Don’t be put off by rejections! And keep reading – the best way to improve your craft is to immerse yourself in as much poetry as you can – new, old, good or bad, it really doesn’t matter!