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  • Writer's pictureBelle Kenyon

The People Who Shaped My Writing: Bethany Rivers

Bethany Rivers' debut pamphlet, Off the wall, was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing. She is the author of `Fountain of Creativity: ways to nourish your writing' from Victorina Press. Her biggest passions in life are writing and enabling others to write. She has been widely published in magazines, anthologies and online in the UK and USA, including: Envoi, Cinnamon Press, Bare Fiction, Fair Acre Press, Verve Poetry Press, Yorkshire Valley Press, Silver Birch Press, The Lampeter Review, The Lake, Blithe Spirit, High Window Literary Journal, Laldy Scottish Literary Journal, Writers' Cafe, Riggwelter, I am not a silent poet, Picaroon Poetry, Three Drops from a Cauldron, The Ofi Press. She has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University and has taught creative writing for over 13 years. She also mentors writers individually, through the writing of their novels, short stories, children's fiction, memoirs, and poetry: Bethany Rivers is also editor of the online poetry magazine, As Above So Below, which publishes poetry on the theme of spirituality and transcendence.

Isabelle: Do you feel your work has been inspired by your influences in any way? To what extent do writers inspire your own stories/poetry?

Bethany Rivers: Some of my writing is very much inspired by myths and legends of long ago.  Some stories have a way of getting under your skin and staying th

ere, because they speak to you deeply in some way.  And the story might inspire a poem straight away, or may take a few years to be assimilated.  Or it may want to be written about many times over, as in the case of my Ophelia and Persephone poems.

Mary Oliver is a major influence.  I've responded to specific poems of hers like In Blackwater Woods and The Journey.  But I also really appreciate how she can bring a nature scene to life and imbue it with bigger questions to do with ways of being in the world / grief / spirituality, which is something I aspire to.

Other writers who greatly influence me are poets like Zeina Hashem Beck, Tishani Doshi, Seni Seneviratne, Naomi Shihab Nye, Ocean Vuong.  I'm continuously drawn to writers who straddle two or more cultures/countries/languages.  There's something about that liminality or outsider perspective that I really r

And Rumi is another influence of mine, especially in poems such as 'life-song'.  Some of his images are so evocative, such succinct lines speaking so much of something bigger than us (for him it was the Beloved) beyond the everyday reality, but simultaneously, that transcendence is very much a part of our everyday lives.

the sea refuses no river by Bethany Rivers can be purchased from Fly on the Wall here and all major retailers.

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