#BrokenAsides with Glen Wilson


When did you first feel like a writer?

I think I’ve always been more comfortable expressing myself on the page but in the sense of being a writer beyond jotting down my own thoughts it would be when I had a poem shortlisted in the Strokestown Satire prize, it gave me the encouragement to continue writing. 

What’s the most interesting thing that has inspired your writing and what was the result?

I was asked to write some poems for the Northern Ireland football team and I was surprised how well sports and poetry came together, mixing a very communal activity with the solitary practice of writing. What was most satisfying was the response of people who thought of poetry as something austere and elitist who were engaged and inspired by my poem. 

Paint us a picture: what does your writing process look like? Do you write in coffee shops at night or only on an old type-writer?

I go between writing in a jotter which I keep to hand at all times (so I write in snippets throughout the day) and writing on my laptop. I think there is something raw and fluid with the handwritten drafts that allow me to not be tied down to form or direction, whereas the screen allows me to edit and shape the poem. 

Describe your ideal reader: who would your work speak to?

I don’t think I have an ideal reader in mind I tend to write on what interests me and I hope that that is transmitted to any potential reader. 

Who’s an author you’ve changed your mind about and why?

I had never really read Jane Hirshfield but after reading her excellent book Ten windows; how great poems transform the world I felt better equipped to not only read her work but it gave me different ways to read other people’s work as well, I highly recommend it. 

If you could interview any other writer/artist, who would it be and why?

This is such a hard one to narrow down, so many to choose from! I would say Michael Stipe would be an interesting interviewee due to being such a fan of REM. In terms of poetry I think Ian Duhig, Terrance Hayes and Zoe Brigley Thompson would make for insightful interviewees though right now my mind is drawing a blank about what questions to ask! 

What motivates you to keep writing?

I simply think there is nothing quite like creating something new. When a phrase or painting or whatever inspires you sparks off an idea and you start to see the piece of writing take form, it’s those moments that are my primary motive to keep writing. 

How do you deal with writer’s block or being overwhelmed by the writing process? 

I don’t think you can pour from an empty cup so when I feel the writing isn’t flowing it’s maybe time to rest and take time to do something different , meet up with family and friends, play music, get out into nature, watch a good film and come back refreshed with new ideas. 

Where would you like to see yourself in a decade? A creative writing teacher? As a best-seller? 

I would love to be a best-selling writer I can but dream! I have done writing facilitation and started mentoring in recent years and I would like to do more of this as well as work on more poetry collections and run some writing workshops. I have enjoyed collaborating on a few projects in the last 3 years such as Angela Graham’s Sanctuary; There must be somewhere and working with Ross Thompson on his pandemic project A Silent War, and I would be open to doing more of these going forward.

What has your work taught you about yourself?

I have found out that I have an inquisitive nature and I like to delve into new subjects and areas of thought, I don’t like to retread the same ground when I write. I particularly found this when I was putting together my debut collection An Experience on the tongue (Doire Press) where my poems jumped about through history and I adopted different voices to develop my poems. 

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