Valerie Bloom was born in Jamaica and came to England in 1979. She studied English with African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury. She writes poetry both in English and Jamaican patois for all ages, and has performed her work throughout the world, with many television and radio appearances. Her poetry is included in a number of anthologies and she tutors regularly for schools and colleges. Valerie Bloom uses the influence of stories from her native Jamaican culture to shape and be a key component of her poetry, in both patois as in “standard” English. She begins her performances with a crash course in patois as part of a reading to ensure no-one is excluded. Her poetry has become widely known through her books, those of her own poetry and anthologies she has edited, plus a novel, and she was commissioned to write a poem on Celebration for National Poetry Day 2002. At last count, her poetry had been printed in over 250 anthologies, as well as appearing frequently on television, stage and radio.
Valerie Bloom Interview:
Where do you get your ideas from?
- Your senses pick up stimuli
- Things I see
- What I eavesdrop
- What I hear in conversations with people
Why do you write poetry?
- Kind of fell into it
- Always wanted to write
- Have been exposed to poetry from childhood
- Read lots of poetry
- Loved reading and writing
- Began publishing poetry on a national level from primary school
How do you write your poems?
- Begins with the idea/theme
- Brainstorms in notebooks
- Jots down ideas
- Cage all ideas
- Starts to write the poem
- Looking at all the brainstorming ideas
- Handwrites all drafts and ideas
- Better connection and flow of ideas if it is pen to paper
- Uses pens or pencils
- Draft after draft – done by hand
- Writes the final draft typed up on a computer
What do you think of when you are writing a poem?
- Think of the audience and the response that they will get once hearing/reading the poem
- Think of a tune/a song that may match the poem
- Think of the subject/theme of the poem
- Think of the feelings I want to give off – words that will best express that subject
What advice or tips do you have for someone just beginning to write poetry?
- Read lots of poetry
- ‘Writers’ Forum’
- ‘Writers Online’
- ‘Poetry Archive’
- ‘Young Writers’
- Listen to poetry
- Write poetry
- The more you write, the better you will get
- Don’t edit as you go along, wait till the end, because you may second guess your work, instead create many drafts
- Create many drafts instead of small edits
If you would like to see or read more of Valerie Bloom, be sure to check her out on her blog: https://valeriebloom.co.uk/
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