22 June 2015
NYWM Poetry: Broede Carmody
National Young Writers’ Month sees us throwing the spotlight on Poetry, with an interview series of young poets by Izzy Roberts-Orr. Say hello to Broede Carmody.
What do you do?
I write poetry and I’m a journalist as well, for my day job and to pay rent. I also edit poetry for Voiceworks magazine.
Do your journalism practice and your poetry practice feed into each other?
My journalism practice and my poetry practice actually really do feed into one another a lot, and a lot of people sort of wonder why that is or can’t really see how.
I think journalism at its heart is a profession about curiosity and interrogating power, and I think poetry too is about curiosity and interrogating power, whether they be formal or political structures, or more about interrogating language and sort of the non-physical things such as emotions and experiences.
In journalism I’m always learning new things that can feed into my poetry and in my poetry I’m learning about concision, and concision is something that’s really important in journalism. Showing rather than telling. Both are about less is more.
You edit poetry at Voiceworks too – did your interest in editing come before or after writing?
I think my interest in editing came after gaining my confidence in writing. They definitely feed into one another. I’ve always had a real interest in grammar and the conventions around how language is used, and how they’re both governed, and sort of can be broken in a way.
Do you have any advice for people looking to find their community?
I still remember the first time I went to a Voiceworks launch and introduced myself to people that I didn’t know and then within a few months I was on the Voiceworks Editorial Committee and involved in a few other things. It’s just about putting yourself out there and building friendships. It’s not about networking or any of these other buzzwords that people use.
I think as well, what else is really important to building a sense of community is the internet. The internet is really important for that, whether it be Facebook groups or online publications that you see friends on. Particularly Twitter as well.
How do you know when something’s ‘finished’?
I’m getting better at that as time goes on but a really good tactic that I’ve been using to help me out figuring out whether something is the final draft is by sharing it with friends and getting friends to read over it with a really critical eye.
I think the other thing – it’s a bit of a cliché – but to put something down and come back to it a week later. You know when something is finished when you don’t have any questions about it I think is a really good approach. As a journalist I’m always asking questions and I feel like if I feel like a poem sort of ties up the events that are in it really well and that I don’t have any questions about it, that’s a good way to at least be on the way to figuring out whether it’s finished.
Do you have any tips for being edited?
As both a writer myself and as an editor, I’m in a really privileged position to be able to see both sides. I think the relationship between poet and editor is often construed as a combative one. Sometimes it is, there’s no question about that, but I think a lot of the time it’s a constructive one.
On one hand be receptive and humble, on the other hand make sure that you’re happy with the finished product and an editor will always be happy for you to push back a little bit.
How do you deal with rejection?
It happened a lot initially when I started out but I find that rejection is becoming a less common thing as time goes on. If anything, I don’t have to deal with rejection so much as my own laziness or lack of time to write poetry.
My advice for dealing with rejection would be to hold onto your successes, go back, look at the journals that you’ve been published in and if you’re just starting out, go back, read some of your earlier work to see how you’ve progressed and if all else fails, go back and read you’re favourite poets because they’re always going to cheer you up.
Who do you read?
I try to have an approach of reading very widely. At the moment I’ve got a real passion for reading Australian poets, particularly women, and my favourite poet of all time would have to be Gwen Harwood.
I’m particularly interested at the moment in contemporary poetry, writing of women and people from different cultures and backgrounds.
Where can we find your stuff?
‘Hunter-Gatherers’ on Cordite
‘Postcard from Oulu’ on Cordite
Can you recommend some reading?
Anne Sexton is really great I guess for a bit of the darker side of life and dealing with trauma and stress without coming across in a way that has been done before.