I met Kelli Gunn in the Poetry Review and Discuss group on LinkedIn, weeks before she published her first poetry collection ‘Pot of Uncertainty At the End of the Unsettled’. I immediately got myself a copy on my Kindle and finished reading the poems in a single sitting. Her writing, I thought, was like a mirror. Naturally, it invited for an interview with the poetess of this charming little collection – Kelli Gunn. So here it is, a small interview conducted over e-mail, which I hope you will enjoy.
Let’s simply start with, who is Kelli Gunn?
I’m a 6th generation East Coast Canadian and proud part of the Scottish diaspora. I’m a poet and writer, also a mother of two teenagers. I went to university late, and spent the past six years getting two degrees in English Lit, and now I work at a call center to pay the bills while writing in my spare time. I wish I could make that all sound more exciting, but that’s me in a nutshell.
In the preface of the book, you mention something about heartbreaks, and that was when you started writing. So, from that day, what did you find so special in poetry that it stayed with you?
I started writing poetry when I was quite young, actually, and had my first poem published at 14. But I started writing love poems after my first heartbreak because I have always found a certain comfort in reading and writing poetry. I kept a couple of them through the years and added to the collection as the number of heartbreaks continued to rise J Perhaps it’s like someone who needs to do physical work to take their mind of their problems, or someone people will clean their house…for me, when I’m upset, I get release from channeling all my feelings into poetry. Even going back to revise it is therapeutic for me. I like to create and my emotions give me great material to use.
Tell us about one poem that you enjoy reading again and again, and also, a few of your favourite poets.
Ah, there are so many! I read “The Second Coming” by Yeats over and over and he is one of my favorite poets, as well. I also never tire of reading John Donne or Edgar Allan Poe (I keep a copy of “A Dream Within A Dream” on my desk at work).
Your writing is quite contemporary in nature. You do not stick to the traditional format of poetry, but seem to be writing down what comes to your mind in a great rhythm. You appear to have a personality in writing. And as it is said, having a personality in writing is extremely important.
So, did you have any trouble finding this style? Did you have any another style of writing that contradicted with this and a conflict was born?
I think my style, as it is now, has developed painfully over time. I used to rhyme everything and start every line with a capital letter, until it was called to my attention that this is not only unnecessary, but annoying. I try not to stick to any certain form or style, but let the nature of the poem, as it develops, dictate how it will sound and appear, instead of trying to hold to a standard of how I used to think poetry should be. I like to experiment with different styles, too. In fact, I often write haikus that I never show anyone!
What’s next for Kelli Gunn? Where can we read more of your works?
I have ambitious plans for the new year. I’ve been in grad school for the past year, and just successfully defended my thesis last week, which means I finally have freedom to concentrate on my creative, instead of academic, writing. I occasionally publish short fictions on my blog page: https://bookend2016.wordpress.com/ as well as some poetry, and any announcements about future publications will be posted there.
I also have just started manage a poetry workshopping group on LinkedIn called “Critique” (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4280653) where, along with many other talented poets, post the rough drafts of poems for feedback before posted them as final products.
In this poetry collection of yours, how much is fiction and how much is real?
There is more fact than I care to admit, if I’m being honest. Some of the poems are not literally about the situation they may describe, but there is always some truth. “Not You, Baby” for example, was inspired after I ended a relationship with someone who told me that our love is like a baby who was born before his time because I didn’t try long enough, so it’s actually about the death of a relationship, and the pain and betrayal I felt.
Anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks so much for reading my work and for your interest J No one has ever asked me these questions before, so it’s been great to have a chance to talk about something that means so much to me.
I’d like to thank Kelli for taking the time to answer these questions and bringing forward such beautiful, raw poems in her collection. You can get your very own copy of ‘Pot of Uncertainty At the End of the Unsettled’ at Amazon.
Happy reading! 🙂