Write Out Loud's first Poem of the Week: 'The lovers' by Mike Watts
Write Out Loud’s first Poem of the Week is ‘The lovers’ by Mike Watts, which was chosen by a member of our editorial team from all the poems posted on our blogs last week. As you can see, one enthusiastic commenter was ahead of the game, predicting two days ago: "Poem of the week!" Mike, a long-time contributor to Write Out Loud, said he was “proud and honoured”, adding: “WOL is such a fabulous vehicle for many of us writers, and I for one am indebted to it.” In a quickfire Q&A he gave some key answers.
What got you into writing poetry?
I stumbled quite literally into poetry whilst larking about at a friend’s house many, many moons ago. His dad, a trawlerman, had a huge old typewriter and there amongst it all was a piece he’d written called ‘Sunset over Norway’. Strange how after 40 years I still remember the title. Anyway, I was intrigued with the rhythm of it all and decided there and then that I was going to give it a go and write one myself.
How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first poem aged nine (I’m 49 now) entitled ‘The beginning of the earth’. Wish I could remember it.
Do you go to any open-mic nights?
There is a fabulous night in Hull, Away with Words, which is run by the tireless Jim Higo, and attracts some wonderful performers from around the country. It’s also a great platform for anyone who wants to have a go themselves.
What’s your favourite poet/poem?
One of my favourite poems - and one I never tire of reading - is ‘An Arundel Tomb’ by Philip Larkin.
You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?
If I was dumped anywhere, be it a desert island, the moon, Alcatraz, wherever, as long as I had a photograph of my granddaughter Ericka and a case of good quality red, I’d be a contented soul.
by Mike Watts
I fight the stairs clutching jeans and water
Whilst she sobs
It is Sunday
We go out
Drink ourselves stupid
Eat what’s left at whatever’s still open
Then we go home
To make war
And it will rage until sleep smothers us
But when the grunting of one
Awakens the other
We will be entwined
Glued together like a cheap souvenir
Then I or she will peel away
Tread carefully back with
Two hot mugs
I believe love and fury to be our strength
What I’m saying
Is life will get dirty
It will inflame the soul
It will steer you toward chaos
And when it accelerates
Into a ferocious
It’s how you survive the crash
As well as doing a three-week stretch at the Edinburgh festival, Mike Watts has also appeared at Latitude and numerous other events and festivals around the country. He has enjoyed working with John Cooper Clarke, Kate Tempest, Ian McMillan, to name but a few, and bands including The Christians and The Beautiful South’s Paul Heaton. He is also the author of three published collections of poetry, Coming to a Street near You (Night Publishing), Day & Night In The Damaged Goods Factory (Burning Eye), and his latest collection Jawbreaker (Paul Gibson). He is currently working on his next collection which he hopes to release next year as part of the 2017 Hull, City of Culture celebrations.