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"The Interference Effect" - OR - How appearances can be deceptive....

... a slim volume of poems, a lifetime’s work!

 

It may surprise you to know that getting a slim volume of poems published can take YEARS! I am shortly to have my second collection published by the very lovely Two Rivers Press (http://tworiverspress.com/) and the journey I’ve been on from the book’s first beginnings to the moment I have the finished article in my hands has been long, wonderful and challenging.

                The book formally began when I started working towards my MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2012 but I had no idea what it would be about , how many poems would be in it or in what order. I only knew that I had something I wanted to say and  that I’d wanted to say it for many, many years. And so I wrote poems, I spent days and weeks editing them, taking them to be critiqued by poets I admire and trust, sending them out to magazines and competitions and welcoming them back, both when they came home with their tails between their legs and when they appeared in print or won prizes.

                And slowly, bit by bit, the poems seemed to cohere into a sort of pattern, but it was only in 2014 when I was writing my dissertation on the counterpoint between image and narrative in Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry that I came across the Morpho butterfly whose wings, I was to learn, reflect incident light in successive layers leading to interference effects that produce colours which vary with the viewing angle, and this got me thinking.

Then, a friend showed me a photograph from thirty years ago. In it I am laughing; I am with my boyfriend at the time and we look very happy but, in truth, we weren’t and the relationship ended messily soon after. However, what the experience of looking at the photo led to was a poem called ‘The Interference Effect’ about how appearances can be deceptive and which, in time, gave me the theme for the book.

            Then came selecting the poems for my submission to the poetry editor of Two Rivers Press, and the even trickier question of what order to put them in; I wanted them to be in pairs, to tell a story, to lift and fall, for the reader to be invited to dwell or skip, for the poems to be of different lengths and formats to make them interesting to look at on the page, to make the poems less about me and more about the person reading them. I struggled with the order for months and then finally submitted it early 2015.

More edits, more shifting of poems followed: some have been added, others taken away until I now feel the book says what I think I’ve wanted it to say all along and which the poets who’ve kindly and marvelously given me quotes for the back of the book have summed up as follows:

‘This collection flickers with language as quick as the fish that swim in the poems, as the butterfly whose “light interference” is as real as it is suggestive, as illusory as it is sensuous. Meaning turns in a flick of a word, a phrase, an image, the familiar made strange: family love, sexual love, grief are turning silvers in darkness, the other side of the ordinary.’ — GILLIAN CLARKE

‘Everything here is thrillingly both “itself and something other”. Like little translations or ventures into “as if”, the poems draw us into a re-invigorated world of fishy glittering and butterfly glint. Dyer tells us the Chinese character for “poem” is “word–temple”; her poems are themselves little temples we enter dusty and over-familiar yet exit more alert to the world around us and our inner weathers’ — MARTYN CRUCEFIX

Designing the cover was a joy because I was given carte blanche by the Press and the designer and together we worked on an image of the Morpho butterfly and a colourway, finally fixing on the final version, and the Press then commissioned some of the squares to be spot varnished to make the book glint and glitter which is very exciting and makes me feel like twirling with joy!

It may only be a slim volume of 51 pages, easily lost on a book shelf, but to me it’s a slice of my life which I offer up in the hope that someone somewhere may find something in it that resonates with them, invites them to see life slantwise and find something new in doing so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Claire Dyer 

 Clerk for the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants from 1999 to 2004.

[Note:   The Collection will be on sale from October 2016, both on Amazon and on her publisher's website where her first collection is still catalogued: http://tworiverspress.com/wp/eleven-rooms/  ]