The positive feedback from the MA tutors has given me more confidence in my ability, whilst their constructive criticism has helped me to become a better writer.
Please tell us a bit about your work and your influences
Prior to starting the MA in Creative Writing, I primarily wrote short stories. However, the MA has encouraged me to try out different genres and as a result, I’ve fallen in love with writing poetry. My anthology for the Poetry: Theory and Craft module is entitled Skin Hunger and was inspired by the emotional impact of the pandemic and lockdown. The poems explore themes of distance, desire, separation and connection, both between people, and between people and the natural world. I was particularly influenced by the twentieth century poets, Elizabeth Bishop and Denise Levertov. Whilst they are very different poets in terms of style, they share an interest in the natural world, the connections and distances between people, and the process of perception, all topics I touch upon in my anthology. They are also both structurally innovative which inspired me to experiment more with form than I might have otherwise done. Other writers that influence my work include Emily Dickinson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Sylvia Plath and Alice Munro.
How have you found your course and time at Brighton?
The MA has been a revelation for me. I have always written but in secret, rarely showing my work to anyone. The positive feedback from the MA tutors has given me more confidence in my ability, whilst their constructive criticism has helped me to become a better writer. I’m also a member of staff at Brighton (in the Student Wellbeing Team) so it’s been very interesting to be a student and see the university from that different perspective.
How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Creative Writing?
As explained earlier, I have always dabbled with creative writing but never properly pursued it. I turned 40 a couple of years ago and as cliched as it sounds (not good for a writer!), it was a bit of a ‘now or never’ moment. I already knew Jess Moriarty, the Course Leader, through my work at Brighton, and had always been impressed by her passion for writing and teaching. I’m so glad that I took the leap and am grateful that working at Brighton gave me this opportunity.
What are your plans after graduation?
Having taken the first leap into studying for the MA, I now need to take the next leap and try to get some of my work published. I have a few poems and short stories that I’m planning to submit to online magazines and journals so we’ll see what happens with those. Otherwise, my plan is just to keep going and push myself to write the best that I possibly can.
by Marianne Lemond
slippery fingers of satsuma segments
whirlpool of the tabby’s ear
ribbon unwinding from the robin’s throat
furry knuckles of the succulent
waves sucking their ragged hangnails
twilight tongue licking liquorice rooftops
Starved of skin contact
I gather each sensation
into the deep folds
of my mind
and in your absence
I open my hoard
lay out my feast