Interview with Poertree
Our interview this issue is with the rarely seen, often misunderstood, jolly but cryptic Philip aka Poertree. He has been a member of Passions' forums since November of 1999. Since that time, he's managed to post a few poems, make a few friends, and insult me on numerous occasions.
things first Philip: Do tell us about the ever so creative name you've chosen for
interaction in the forums. Is it merely a play on words, or did you just misspell it?
Philip: Two, or was that three, jibes in a two line question ... wayyyyyy to go Christopher. Anyway I guess I had to have a suitably irritating and pretentious name being and irritating and pretentious Brit no?
Now, being uncharacteristically serious, I have to admit I hate the name and were it not for the fact that my vanity won't let me lose my cherished 1000+ posts in the forums, I'd have changed it before now. Fact is I think my old school-boy nickname would suit - "The Scarlet Pimpernel" or Sir Percy Blakeney. For your benefit Chris, the creation of Baroness Emma Orczy, and an aristocratic English hero of the French revolution, a daring, intelligent, resourceful chap (sound familiar?) who plied back and forth across the channel plucking the various deserving Gallic nobility from a fate worse than death - well of course it was death, but you know what I mean. So you see your intro wasn't far off the mark Chris; elusive and jolly; mind you I kinda wonder sometimes, I mean I never saw myself as a "shy retiring flower" or "scarlet" for that matter ... hummm
Christopher: I don't know, Philip, I can picture you in purple! Ok, I've noticed that the bulk of your writing is in the Critical Analysis forum. Why is that?
Philip: This is a trick question - I know it! You're trying to get me suggest that the whole of the Open Forum comprises poems about fluffy bunnies and "lurve" and inconsequential ramblings. Well 'tis not true, not true at all - in there somewhere are the gems that I just don't have the patience to wait for the search engine to find them. Anyway there's no way I'm coming out of CA, I might miss Brad's legs or Jim's Karate.
Mind you, going back to the Percy Blakeney thing, it kind of fits don't you think? I can just see me in that mysterious scarlet lined black cape, landing at the dead of night on the dark shores of the Open forum and then, with judgment and finesse, rescuing some aristocrat of Open from the revolutionary masses and then, with additional courage and resourcefulness, smuggling him or her (probably her), back to the civilized shores of that small beleaguered island called CA. Yeah I like that!
Christopher: Darn! Caught me! Oh well, sounds like a noble idea I suppose. So how long have you been pretending to write then?
Philip: For this question to make any sort of sense (which in itself would be kind of a departure for you) the word "write" has to be imbued with an implication beyond that normally ascribed to it, viz, the act of forming symbols, letters or words in a chosen medium. On the assumption that you meant to ask: "when did your poetic glitter burst forth upon the world of literature", the answer is November 6, 1999, shortly after I put the cat out after tea.
Christopher: Wow! I don't imagine many people can put a set date! Speaking of, we know you are old Philip, but really: When is your birthday?
Philip: Hey, pretty subtle for you Christopher. Do you seriously think I'm going to deprive you and Ms Devine of the satisfaction of solving my conundrum which is posted in Announcements under Elizabeth's thread called "All Birthdays", reply number 66. http://netpoets.com/pip/Forum3/HTML/000396 (pssttt, really excellent puzzle, yanno!)
Christopher: * grumble * Forget that for now then - someone will figure it out! How has your interaction at Passions affected your writing or views on writing poetry?
Philip: * he peers suspiciously * Is this really a straightforward, un-barbed, un-clever-dick question? Yeah well, frankly, I was fine up to the point when I was innocently sauntering past this dark Alley place and some guy's arm reached out and hauled me in, and ever since then I've been hard pressed to defend national and personal honor let alone produce verse.
Actually, I guess here's the place to say that without Passions, or more precisely a few people in Passions, I would have NO views on writing poetry. I know it sounds a little melodramatic, but I guess Passions rekindled something that I started about 20 years ago and then lost in the wilderness some call a "career."
Christopher: No, that is a familiar story! Many a poet's been caught that way! So do you have a favorite poet - besides myself of course?
Philip: Hey, you mean you post outside the Alley? Geez, I must go look someday! In the "real world," Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes and a contemporary English poet named Simon Armitage. In Passions, Jenni, Trevor, Doreen, Martie (oh and Kamla and Maree of course - I want to stay alive!).
Christopher: Smart move, Philip! Next query then: What are your future plans in regards to your own writing?
Philip: For the next year, serious writing is out, serious reading is in (all poetry). I'm struggling to get over the idea that I'm about to be an instantaneous world famous poet. I enjoy in-depth reading and commentary on what I consider to be "good" poetry though, and I actually believe that trying to understand the minds of other writers helps to engender and develop my own ideas.
Christopher: Well as much as I hate to admit it, I think you have a good chance! Would be time consuming though. Do you have a life? If so, tell us a little about it.
Philip: Like most of us, I guess I have two lives, "ON" and "OFF." But I know what you mean. Simple really: last twenty years "off." More or less all day, every day, working in the torrid UK property (real estate) world. Next twenty years "on". Well not all "on", but hopefully a combination of traditional literary sources and the net to pursue a writing career of some kind - not entirely clear what yet!
Christopher: I imagine many can relate to that as well! Almost done with you now, Philip. But before I let you go, please tell us about the poem we've chosen to display here for you.
Philip: This is not only a good deal gloomier than most of my efforts so far, but it is written in an entirely different way. Normally, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to say and how I want to say it before I start writing. I then move to a framework or rough draft and then gradually work toward the final version. This poem, in contrast, just "happened" in the sense that the lines just kind of appeared in the order in which you now see them, and the message or "meaning" really didn't feature until after it was written. I had to make a few adjustments to clarify certain parts, but really very few. I'd been reading a tremendous amount of Dylan Thomas just before writing this, so I blame it on him.