The Wee Folk. The Fae. Fairies.
Whatever you may call them, they have whispered secrets in this collection of poetry plucked from the halls of Tír na nÓg. But, be forewarned, not all is as it seems on a journey through the shining realm. Come, take a step into the fairy ring as songs of the Fae drift on the damp night air.
Today we are here to talk about a special project, Scath Oran by Stacy Overby. This is a speculative poetry chapbook based on mythology that explores several different forms. It’s an ambitious project, but one that I really enjoyed exploring. So without further ado, here is my interview with the mastermind behind this collection.
How long have you been writing poetry?
I’ve been writing poetry on and off for about 25 years. Yes, I still have those angst filled notebooks of poems from high school. And, no, I’m not going to share them, at least not at this point.l
What draws you to poetry?
I grew up loving music. I also grew up in a family where history was important. Understanding where we came from and who we are. In the course of these two things, I discovered we, as human beings, have a rich history of oral storytelling. This was some of the first poems I discovered and fell in love. This is what keeps bringing me back to poetry, that lyrical, rhythmic way of building layer upon layer of meaning in such a short and memorable time frame.
What do you find different writing speculative poetry than other topics?
I think speculative poetry can be a bit more challenging in that you not only have to sell the poem itself, but the notion that this completely fictional scenario is real. Even if the poem is beautifully written, not convincing the reader the banshees are really out there howling in the storms will still lead to a poem that falls flat. It’s that added challenge of building a connection with readers.
Where did the idea for Scath Oran come from?
Oh boy, let me see if I can put it into words that make sense. There were a couple things that came together and influenced the birth of Scath Oran. First, a writing group I am in had the challenge to create a personal project within a certain time frame–I don’t honestly remember how long anymore. At that same time I had been working some with an amazing poet, Dusty Grein, on classical forms and, particularly, meter. Then throw in a liberal dash of my love for all things speculative, and some of the early poems for Scath Oran were born. From there I decided to try to make a collection out of it.
Take us through your process of writing poetry.
Process? There’s a process? Oh, wait. I’m not supposed to say that am I? Honestly, a number of these poems started off pretty off the cuff. Watching clouds drift by creating crazy shadows on the ground or the way thunder rolled through a valley one day when I was out camping. Then it’s dash the words down on paper. This collection was also about exploring a number of classical forms as well, so I tried to pick forms I hadn’t used too much in the collection. The meter part came with the form, at least as much as I could at first. Then it’s the refining and editing parts. Is the meter correct? Should I break the meter or form in a particular spot? Do the images stand up? I had lots of help with these last bits. Each revision was about honing the piece to capture the essence of the poem, that image, as quickly as possible.
What did you learn from writing Scath?
It’s hard! Well, not hard, but man, the work that goes into a poetry collection is crazy. Are each of the poems lending something to the whole? Should one–or more–be taken out? Should something get added in? In what order should the poems be in the book? What is the overall message and theme of the book? How should they be laid out? What fonts? Should titles be fancy with the body of the poem cleaner? The list goes on and on. Way more than what I feel like there are for a novel. But, I also learned through all these questions, that this is what brings a classy book to the table. The art of poetry is as much in the presentation of the final poem as it is the words of the poem itself.
You used a lot of form poetry in this chapbook. Do you prefer form to freeverse? And why?
That’s a tough call. Some of the underlying intention in this collection was to focus on forms. Free verse seems so much bigger, I liked the idea of veering away from it. I also find I love the challenge of fitting my poem into the mold of a particular form and meter–which are additional layers to build emotion upon in a poem. However, with free verse, even though there are no real rules for this, there is the added challenge of creating a stunning poem without anything to guide you. In the end, I’d have to say each has its place and I like both directions for different reasons.
What’s your favorite form? Why?
I don’t know if I have a favorite form. The sonnets were fun because they are so recognizable as a form for most people. Triolets are a challenge due to the repetition used in this form. The most interesting form I used was the paradelle. This form was originally created by Billy Collins as a joke. Here’s a link to the form itself and you’ll understand why it is such an interesting form to try to use effectively: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/poets/poetic-form-paradelle.
What does writing mean to you?
Writing is my sanity, sometimes literally. I am the director of a dual diagnosis adolescent treatment program. We do TONS of trauma work with the teenagers in the program. There’s no way a provider can work doing the things we do and not run the risk of secondary trauma from listening to all the horror stories these teenagers have lived through. Writing is one of my major outlets and coping mechanisms for staring into that abyss as much as I do and plan to continue doing.
What other genres do you write?
I also write speculative fiction.Anything in the fantasy, science-fiction, or even along the fringes of horror is fair game for me. Keeping it speculative allows me to write some of the things I deal with at work in a way that protects anyone who may have influenced the writing. Plus, this is what I was raised on. My dad loves this stuff and passed that love of “what if…” on.
Tell us about your future projects.
I am working on the edits for my first novel, Tattoos: A Black Ops Novel. It’s a space opera exploring devotion to duty versus personal values and what happens when views of what the perfect world looks like collide. A couple short stories from this world have been published in Rhetoric Askew’s Askew Anthologies series.
Where can we find you to learn more?
I can be found at www.thisisnothitchhikersguide.com for my blog. For social media, I’m at www.facebook.com/thisisnothitchhikersguide, www.twitter.com/dontpanic2011, www.instagram.com/mamawisper78, and https://www.pinterest.com/thisisnothitchhikersguide. Come chat with me! I love the company!
Pick up your copy at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GSZNWCP to explore with the tricksy fae today!