cap-001-001In my twenty-fourth interview for In the Booklight, I talk to Agnes Marton about her poetry collection Captain Fly’s Bucket List

Could you tell me about Captain Fly as a character and the collection’s wonderfully intriguing title?

My character Captain Fly was born during a poetry masterclass session led by Jen Hadfield and Pamela Beasant as a part of the International St Magnus Festival. We were writing a renga and my response to a fellow-poet’s lines included Captain Fly, just out of the blue. Everyone loved him (especially Bill Herbert) and I decided to give him a central role in my forthcoming work. The poem sequence revolves around desires and expectations, fulfilment and loss. According to columnist Sydney J. Harris “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”

How do art and words interact for you as a poet when you’re writing?

My poems are visual. Images and metaphors come to me naturally, I “just” select which ones to use and how.

The book is broken into three similarly beguilingly titled sections, ‘full but hungry’, ‘sharkening’ and ‘clandestine of routines’. How did these groupings come about?

Probably it would be a spoiler to give a direct answer to this. What I can tell you though, I use the word “clandestine” here as a noun, just like in the Manu Chao song “clandestino” refers to the controversial term “illegal immigrant” whatever some people might mean by this.

For you, do poems tend to start from ideas, images, sounds…?

Images, sounds and curious feelings meet my ideas at a certain point. It’s difficult to say when a poem starts and how – sometimes I use my notes written twenty years ago. It happens that I work on a poem and realise it contains two or three short poems – or the opposite: stanzas meant to be in different poems come together smoothly with juxtaposition.

How do the dreamlike and revealing invisible processes work for you, both in your own poems and other people’s poetry or art that you admire?

I love multi-layered texts and I’m happy to see my reviewers highlight different layers of my work. All these layers exist. Once a poem of mine was translated into Polish and the translator asked whether a certain line had been intended to say this or this. I answered: both, but also this and this and this.

photo by Abigail Ardelle Zammit

photo by Abigail Ardelle Zammit

You’re Hungarian-born, currently live in Luxemburg and there are French phrases in some of these poems. How important are multi-European influences and inspiration to you?

I would rather talk about global influences and inspiration (and I find them essential). I studied in the States, I travel whenever I can, together with Jack Little we are running The Ofi Press Mexico, I’m a founding member of Phoneme Media (in Los Angeles), I take part in artist residencies all over the world, even in the Arctic Circle.

One of my poems is called ‘Apesanteur.’ ‘Weightlessness’ is a heavy word, so I used the French equivalent instead. “Gattopardo Fresco” is much stronger than the same in English. I love playing with languages, creating new words and distorting set expressions.

What haven’t I asked of ‘Captain Fly’s Bucket List’ that I’m currently missing out on?

Together with composer Vasiliki Legaki we wrote an opera out of it. The short version (opera duet) premiered at the Hellenic Centre in London. Now we are looking forward to the premiere in Athens (it will take place in October this year) and we are working on the extended version. That production has already been invited to the Burning Man Festival, Nevada, for 2018.

Where can people get hold of a copy of the collection?

The easiest way is sending me an email with their postal address to — and paying using Paypal.

cap-001-001Thank you, Agnes, for these interesting answers about the influences, creative process and future plans for ‘Captain Fly’s Bucket List’.

To read more In the Booklight interviews with authors, please click on this link.

Anyone interested in being interviewed for In the Booklight about a new poetry project or book can email Sarah on lifeislikeacherrytreeATyahooDOTcom. Thank you.