Anthology Interview: Natalie Crick

To celebrate the February 26th launch of our anthology, we're sharing interviews with a few featured artists. Below we interview Natalie Crick, a writer based in England.

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GS&NS: Hi, Natalie! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Natalie: I live in Newcastle in the UK and have been writing poetry for around ten years now. I began to write a few poems in my later school years, but first became very enthusiastic about the subject whilst studying for a degree in English Literature.
I began to find my own style and voice and became particularly inspired by the work of female confessional poets, like Sylvia Plath and Louise Gluck, as well as their fellow writers Anne Sexton and Sharon Olds.
I have only in recent years made serious attempts to publish my work, and have achieved success with many journals and magazines both online and in print including Interpreters House, Ink In Thirds, The Penwood Review, The Chiron Review, Rust and Moth and, of course, GirlSense and NonSense.
This year I was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
I currently attend a creative writing group and hope to study for an MA in Writing Poetry this Autumn.

GS&NS: “Sunday School” and “The Murmurings” are full of figurative language and vibrant imagery. Will you talk us through an example of a metaphor, symbol, or image you employed in one of the poems and what it achieves?

Natalie: I try to employ a lot of symbolic imagery in my poems, particularly ‘Sunday School’. In the poem, I compare the “paper clowns” with “legs and arms spinning anti-clockwise” to the Priest’s eyes which “slide from side to side” to give the Priest an air of suspicion in relation to his young “potential girlfriends” who are “his for an hour” in his Sunday School class.
I tried to give the Priest character a position of authority as the “bee of androgyny” whilst, in contrast, the “little girls” are powerless and “dumb with fear”.
At the end of the poem, I make use of suggestive imagery to accentuate the vulnerability of the children, as they are described as “naked dolls” whilst the terrible lust of the Priest is magnified as he “strips them, licking them with stars”.

GS&NS: “The Murmurings” has an element of grotesqueness, almost science fiction, as the speaker decays and is hollowed out by the nameless “she”. Then the poem culminates with the speaker described as a stranger and the final line: “Misted snow drifts over the remains.” Will you discuss your inspiration for the poem and also the impact of the final stanza?

Natalie: I agree that ‘The Murmurings’ has an element of grotesqueness, which I tried to convey through descriptive lines like “lice are feeding. They are carnivorous” to show the extent of the “poison” that is “biting away at my life”.
The poem intends to create a dangerous image of a threat living within the body, which the reader could determine as being a physical entity or even a psychiatric illness making the nameless character’s existence “dark. So dark.”
The verse suggests that even the character herself is mystified by “what this thing is”, perhaps because the face “She” is “alive” is so overwhelming.
The final stanza describes the impact of “She…beginning to hatch” as the narrator is finally broken and destined to “shatter forever” leaving only “the pieces of me”. The final line, “misted snow drifts over the remains” is intended to be emotive and melancholy, symbolising a death by association to the season Winter.

GS&NS: You mentioned two sources of inspiration for you: Sylvia Plath and Louise Gluck. What do you admire or enjoy about their work?

Natalie: Sylvia Plath’s poetry and life story have been a great source of inspiration to me, particularly in my teenage years when I first discovered her work, whilst Louise Gluck is a more recent source of creativity for my writing.
I am currently reading ‘First Born’ by Louise Gluck, a book that I would definitely recommend. I love the merciless, stinging tone that Gluck adopts in her writing, particularly in the poem ‘First Born’: “What now? You miss my care? …Today my meatman turns his trained knife / On veal, your favourite. I pay with my life”. Gluck’s poems have a harsh beauty.
There is much beauty, as well as sadness, to be found in Plath’s poetry. My favourite poem by Sylvia Plath is ‘Edge’, written close to her death. The devastating finality of the evocative lines: “petals / Of a rose close when the garden / Stiffens and odours bleed/ From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower”, I find incredible.

GS&NS: What advice would you give to emerging writers?

Natalie: I think the most important consideration when writing is to write about what you really enjoy – your enthusiasm will shine through in words.
It is important to find your own writing style, which can happen naturally or by inspiration from favourite writers. Understand that your writing will always evolve and change is important.