Attracta Fahy is a moving and emotive poet and the October 2019 winner of New Irish Writing in The Times. 'Dinner in the Fields' will be released in March 2020 and you won't want to miss it!
1. How would you describe your writing style, and this collection in turn?
My poetry is very much influenced by my surroundings, my children, nature, friendships, my garden, what I read, other poets, my training, and work as a psychotherapist.
Coming from a farming background, I’ve always had a close affinity with nature, birds, and animals. Growing up in the middle of both pagan, and catholic archaeology has a huge influence on what I write.
My style has been described as mytho-psychoanalytical. It is reflective, more existential in a soulful sense.
Of course this concerns what I mean by soul, not just the godly sense, but also the ordinary dark shadowy places in life, and in relationships. This is what I try to articulate in my poetry, which are often autobiographical, particularly poems which relate to my childhood.
My poetry is at times both raw, and empathetic, expressed from a self-empowered woman, by her own journey and truth.
Drawing on ritual, myth, and symbolism, I try to give meaning to experiences, and seek the richness involved in everyday things, inner conflicts, conflicting subjects, and the idea of dark proceeding light.
Because I work with human suffering, and despair, it is important to believe when navigating dark passages, that there is an inner light to which one can cling. This I believe gives us perseverance, and strength.
I have an unusual mix in this collection. I reflect on how nature resonates our humanity, also normalising what would have once been considered abnormal, like my poem about anorexia. I touch on social issues like domestic violence, challenge orthodoxy, and our present collective crisis.
This collection is inspired by my experiences in life. It speaks of a journey from childhood to a now ageing woman.
2. Which writers do you love and admire?
Whenever a poetry book, poem, or a poet resonates, it becomes a favourite, which makes me want to read more of their work. My home is filled with poetry books. For the past twenty-five years I have loved Mary Oliver’s poetry. It is a great resource, and has been a comfort in my profession. I have no doubt that reading poetry has an unconscious impact on my work with clients. Poetry is a medium to understand the psyche; imagery, and reflection is significant to both. I have always admired Sylvia Plath’s poetry, not just her imagery, and symbolism, but her precision in form, and detail. I love how she can hold her internal chaos together, and then just leap with a willingness to say what she needs. Adrienne Rich is another favourite of mine since teen years, both her poetry and essays. I love the tension she often creates in her poetry between strength, and vulnerability, that place of tension between the opposites. Emily Dickinson, W.B.Yeats, T.S. Eliot, and Padraig Pearce have all been inspirational in my love for poetry. These are the older poets, I also read a lot of contemporary poets, too numerous to mention here. Recently I have been reading Linda Gregg.
I am very drawn to female poets because there is something in each voice, which mirrors a part of my femininity, and supports my journey as a woman. As a child the poets we heard, and were taught at school was mostly male. Reading the work of female poets is refreshing. But I also appreciate the feminine aspect or voice in male poets. Reading poetry creates a space, which takes you away to another world, inspiring a new perspective.
Attracta's collection will be released in March 2020.