Interview _ David R Mellor

David R Mellor is from Liverpool, England. He spent his late teen homeless in Merseyside. He found understanding and belief through words, and his work has been aired widely, at the BBC, The Tate, galleries and pubs, and everything in between.

His books include the poetry collections, What A Catch (Mellordramatic, 2012) and Some Body (Mellordramatic, 2014). One of his poems has also been featured in Bollocks to Brexit: an Anthology of Poems and Short Fiction (CivicLeicester, 2019).

In this interview, David talks about his writing:

When did you start writing?

In my early 20s, I started to carry a notebook with me everywhere I went. (Still do). I wasn’t that well educated at the time. To me, words... they were just words. After a while I saw them as what they were. Writing was a way of finding my voice after a very troubled childhood.

I was published in the poetry press, then found a local publisher, and I’ve had three books out.

I’ve played pubs, art galleries and everything in-between since.

How would you describe the writing you are doing?

A friend of mine stated that what I’m doing is trying to stop things that have already happened either personally or politically and I guess there is something in that.

The poetry is brutally honest. Being from Liverpool and from a working class background gives a bit of edge to what I do, especially in performance. I don’t think I change what I write to suit audiences.

In the writing you are doing, which authors influenced you most?

Wilfred Owen. I was lucky, later in life, to be poet-in-residence for a while for the society in the north.

Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas. But also music, The Smiths and David Sylvian. The former provided an alternative northern voice, the latter for deep spirituality in his songs.

How have your own personal experiences influenced your writing?

Completely. You can only be that and true to that. Anything else is being fake.

What are the biggest challenges that you face?

Acknowledging that I am a writer and have something to say. My parents still don’t recognise what I do.

Do you write everyday?

I’ve carried a notebook with me everyday since the mid 80s. It’s like a friend, a friend to myself. Usually when I’m out and about a word or sentence will pop into my head and will write itself.

When I don’t write for a few days, I feel out of kilter.

How many books have you written so far?

What A Catch (2012), Some Body (2014), and Express Nothing (2019).

Each are a build up of world, personal, social and political.

Best found on Amazon or via paypal.

What is your latest book about?

Express Nothing presents my take on modern life and the human conditions. It is a collection of poems written over the last few years. Choosing which to include was agonising.

The book was published in April 2019 by a small publishers in my local area, who have always been supportive and good to me.

Which aspects of the work you put into the book did you find most difficult?

In the book, there are a number of poems that are deeply personal and you wonder if people will get it, but I believe if you have felt something then others have too.

In the book, there are also a number of poems that I have been wanting to send out into the world for a while and some that are more meditative and gentle or in which I’ve captured something deeper. I enjoyed working on these a lot.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

I am always touched after performances when people say a reason they relate to a poem and having 20.000 YouTube hits on my site MellorDR.

One of your poems has been featured in Bollocks to Brexit: an Anthology of Poems and Short Fiction. How did the poem come about?

I saw a Facebook post about the book, so decided to send it. The poem changes verses of the Hokey Cockey and how we danced ourselves to this terrible point concluding in comic irony over the cliff.

Humour and politics have long been a British tradition.

Why is it important for poets to speak up on social, political and related matters?

Politics affects people's lives and words can be very subversive and powerful.

In your view, what do anthologies like Bollocks to Brexit add to poetry and public discourse?

Brexit is vile, driven by snobby elites and hateful narrow-minded Brits. This book, Bollocks to Brexit is a statement that we don’t all support Brexit or the thinking that’s led to the verge the country is now on.


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