We are lucky enough to have Anna Saunders guest edit our issue two, due out next Spring. Anna is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Fetival. She has been described as ‘a poet who surely can do anything’ by The North and ‘a poet of quite remarkable gifts’ by Bernard O’Donoghue.
With poems published in journals and anthologies, which include Ambit, The North, New Walk Magazine, Amaryllis, Iota, Caduceus, Envoi, The Wenlock Anthology, Eye Flash, and The Museum of Light, Anna has proven herself a talented writer with a drive to share not only her work but other talented poets. We can’t wait to see her choice of poets for issue two!
We get to know a bit more about Anna in our interview below.
You seem like a busy woman- founding Cheltenham Poetry festival, being a published poet, and now editing for Eye Flash, where would you say your main focus is?
I’d say my main focus is poetry itself – whether its developing
my own craft or creating opportunities for other writers to perform and or be read.
I think poetry is essential to life. Especially in these challenging times. It can help us understand ourselves and those around us better, engender empathy and enhance and enrich our experience of the world.
As Dylan Thomas says “ a good poem helps to change the shape of the universe”.
I won’t comment on the impact of a bad poem though.
How long have you been writing poetry?
Like many people I wrote some rather intense poetry when I was at school, then as an adult turned to prose. I started taking poetry really seriously about 10 years ago.
Taking a Masters in Creative Writing at The University of Gloucestershire helped me hone my voice immensely. Since then I’ve had four collections published. My fifth, Ghosting for Beginners will be published in Spring 2018 by Indigo Dreams.
How did the Cheltenham poetry festival come about?
I’d been running poetry events in Cheltenham for a few years and decided I wanted to dedicate a week to poetry. The Festival is now going into its Eight year and lasts for 12 days – we’ve had some of the UK’s most prestigious names read – Matthew Sweeney, Don Patterson, Fiona Sampson, Sasha Dugdale, Kathy Towers, John Burnside – to name just a few.
What are your main ambitions with your writing?
I would like my work to have an energy, a musicality and depth. I would like it to say something new but also something timeless and universal. That’s my aim anyway!
I want to continue to strive, and work at making my work the best it can be.
Who would you say has had an influence over your writing and life?
I read a copious amount of poetry and am frequently inspired by other poets. There are some incredibly gifted writers emerging in the UK – and editing Eye Flash has given me the opportunity to see some exceptional, unpublished work. It’s been very hard to choose who goes in Issue two!
I am also of course inspired by our more established names. This month I’ve been reading John Burnside, Michael Symmons Roberts and Elaine Feinstein –poetry maestros who know how to make language sing.
Also, my family are all writers and artists. My dad, Peter, was a published novelist, and my mum Sheila is a gifted poet. They both have inspired and influenced me. I am also lucky enough to live in a town full of talented and supportive poets – and I think that’s so important isn’t it – to support and encourage one’s peers?
Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press) Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox ( Indigo Dreams) and the forthcoming Ghosting for Beginners ( Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018).