|Fantasy, Poetry and Much More|
Dr. Amitabh Mitra talks to Australian Poet Janine Daniel.1. Janine, I encountered your works at the PCLA writing community of which you are one of the original members and a moderator, tell us about your early writing, the PCLA community and circumstances that encouraged you to write such beautiful poetry.
I was first introduced to the PCLA community by Philip Bell, an English poet who is the founder and administrator of The Young Poet’s Society. He had visited my web site and read a few poems I had posted there (“Hear Me Merlin” was one of them) and liked what he saw. They were written just for fun and I didn’t really think of writing poetry seriously until I joined PCLA (Poetry Club Literary Angels) and met the founder Shannon Wendler.
Right from the start I received encouragement from the members; there were competitions I could enter; a school to learn all the different styles of poetry and plenty of stimulation to get my imagination going. I really enjoyed all of it and found out that I had a talent for writing poetry and that everyone liked what I wrote.
I tried humor, fantasy, mystery, romance, drama, nonsense and anything else that was offered in the weekly topic competitions. I loved the challenge of trying different topics and found that this more than anything else is what made me expand and branch out so much with my poetry.
I think my secret is that I am an artist as well as a poet. The two go so well together. I can either write a poem describing a picture or draw something to compliment what I have written. If I was given a topic to write about e.g. “Spin In A Whispering Cloud” I would think about it, visualize it, then write about what I was seeing in my mind’s eye.
Also I personally like to read a poem that makes sense and I understand what the poet is talking about. I don’t like poems where I’m left with no idea what the poem means. As I said, I write the type of poem I like to read and going by the comments I get from people who read them so do they.
Although I have illustrated my poetry my art came first. I started off drawing fantasy pictures using color pencils and went on to draw intricate black and white pictures with fine detail. I have been to collage and completed an art course, learning how to do computer graphics and incorporated the whole concept into the art I do today.
It’s hard for me to say where my art comes from. As long as I can remember I’ve always drawn and even as a young child I was encouraged to draw by my parents. But it’s really all to do with imagination. Sitting here writing this and answering your questions Amitabh has gotten me thinking of the order of how these things have evolved for me.
It started with reading from a very young age then drawing and interests in the arts then onto writing and poetry and finally discovering the joys of singing. To me they are all wrapped up in each other and one influences the other.
Even though we may all write in English it’s how we put those words together that makes us stand out from each other. I’ve used certain words that immediately depict that I’m an Australian. This’s fun and there have been times where I’ve been asked what certain words mean even though I’m writing in English.
I haven’t encountered or been aware of the poetry from the Fiji Islands, Papua New Guinea or the Aboriginal tribes of Australia integrating into a common Australian identity and I can’t imagine it happening. I think we are too different for this to happen.
Writing in a poetry forum like we do with PCLA is a good way of reading all sorts of poetry written by young and old people and from any country in the world. Even so, it’s a mostly anonymous thing where you’re not aware of the age or nationality of the writer and even if they’re male or female. This makes it very interesting and can quite often keep you guessing.
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