UNSW Student, Law/ Journalism
Name, age and favourite song to get down to.
Laura Racquel Hannagan Kenny because my parents are indecisive AF – 24 – ‘Insecure’ by Jazmine Sullivan and Bryson Tiller.
How did you get your start in writing poetry?
Genetics – basically. I was raised performing Shakespeare and reading poetry aloud like the pretentious English-Teacher filled fam we are. I began writing poetry at 15 years old and was first published by @UNSWeetened in 2012.
Name some of the focuses of your current work and how these came about.
I have recently taken to trying to be gentler on my own sex and represent the great milieu of grey-area concerns that modern women face in their personal and professional lives. I have always been driven to write on themes that delve into parts of experience and thought that academia doesn’t allow you to access – uncertainty, perceptions, the strangeness of time and memory.
Describe some of your creative influences and what makes them meaningful.
God – a wide wide range. Poetically I think of poets and some song writers as influences. The biggest ones are probably William Butler Yeats, Thomas Hardy, Gwen Harwood, Ted Hughes, Gerard Manly Hopkins. But when all’s said and done Joni Mitchell is the real poetic teacher of my life. I think her lyrics were written with no compulsion to take sides in story-telling, but instead to reveal the delicate and brutal immersion into irrationality that occurs in real life.
Tell us a little bit about your creative process.
A lot of habitual writers talk about a ‘flow’ state and my experience of how I produce my best work is when one of these states strike me. The most important thing to writing poetry is to practice observation, so as to provide the space in your mind for creativity to occur, rather than being overrun by the practicalities of everyday life. I probably write anywhere between 2-10 poems a week, often late at night or at dusk or dawn, and I never write for longer than about 15 minutes. Once the heart of the thought it out – stop – that’s enough.
How do you view the role of social media to the landscape of modern poetry?
It’s booth extremely enabling and suffocating. Social Media has brought to life a new wave of community investment in poetry and spoken word, but it also had a tendency to push onto people their insignificance and the wealth of competition around. I think it’s best to get what you can out of it, and stop anything that interrupts your sleep at night.
What do you think about the future of poetry? What do you say to people who say poetry is dead?
To them I say, ‘How much spare time do you have on your hands?’ If the answer is very little (like the rest of us) then poetry is not dead. Poetry serves up the complexity and sensory indulgence of a film of a novel, in a fraction of the time spent. It’s transcendence that many go to Yoga for, but in as little as 14 lines sometimes. I think poetry is on the rise – it’s beauty you can connect with in a split second.