Interview by Helen Stubbs.
SB Wright is a poet, book reviewer, interviewer and podcast producer. His interest in poetry has been a constant if not always obvious presence. He has maintained his Ditmar Award winning review blog The Adventures of a Bookonaut since 2010.
His audio interviews with Australian and International Speculative Fiction authors can be found at the Award winning Galactic Chat (which he now produces) a sister podcast to Galactic Suburbia.
SB Wright grew up in the NT and currently works as a primary school teacher in SA. He’s a regular contributor to Tincture Journal, and his poems have featured in INDaily Adelaide, Eureka Street, Bluepepper, Writ Poetry Review and the anthologies The Stars Like Sand and Poetry & Place 2015.
What are you working on at the moment?
This year I decided to take a year off from reviewing books and running Galactic Chat. This was partly for health reasons but also because I felt like I really needed to get serious about devoting some time to writing. I am one of those people that procrastinates with other work so it was a matter of reducing the opportunity to distract myself with other important jobs.
So far the schedule has paid off, I’ve had about eight publications this year, and about half of those for contributor copy or contributor copy and paid markets. Readers can check out the Year of Poetry project here ( http://sbwrightpoet.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/and-so-it-begins-kicking-off-year-of.html)
When you look back on yourself starting out as a proto-writer /interviewer/reviewer, are there any tips you would give past-you?
With writing poetry or indeed any writing I’d tell myself to start sooner. I feel that at 41 I really should have started about two decades earlier, I feel like I am playing catch-up a lot of the time.
Can you tell me about a piece of work coming up for publication?
I have a couple of poems coming out in the near future; Bull and The China Pieces in Snap Journal (an initiative of Arts Access Victoria) which is launched on the 19th of August and Confusion and Showgirl Tunes in the September issue of Tincture Journal (a publication that has featured a number of Australian and international Speculative Fiction writers i.e. Jodi Cleghorn, Joyce Chng).
What do you plan to work on next?
I had entertained a little bit of a fantasy about getting a first collection of poems together, but I think a more realistic goal is to perhaps try and work toward a pamphlet of poetry. Although I feel I am writing better poetry than I did last year I don’t know if there’s more than a handful I’d want gracing a first collection. I have to practice patience.
How is your work changing and developing across your career?
I used to really want to write fiction, and speculative fiction at that. I have found that the need to do that has dissipated and been replaced by an enjoyment in writing poetry. Strangely enough none of my poetry seems to spring from speculative fiction inspiration, I don’t know why, as I enjoy the poetry of Jenny Blackford when she strays into that area.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
Sorry to bang on about poetry but I have been really enjoying Andy Jackson and Kathryn Hummel’s collections Immune Systems and Poems from Here, respectively. I haven’t read any long fiction chiefly due to health (severely restricted attention span). I would have liked to have read Vigil by Angela Slatter though.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
I think I would have like to have talked to William Stafford, an American mid-western poet whose work I came across a couple of months ago. By all accounts he was a kind generous man with plenty of time for helping young writers. His poetry is deceptively simple and he combines landscape and emotion really well.