Alison Lock - Poet, Writer

'Like a gentle voice in your ear, these poems speak of love 
and life and pain and war with words so precisely-chosen 
they will make you tremble' - Laura Sheridan.

Blog: Of Words and Wings

Genre Hopping with Writer Rachel J. Fenton AKA Rae Joyce

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 4:20 AM

I'd like to introduce you to a prolific multi-genre writer, Rachel J Fenton (aka Rae Joyce). It was a privilege to meet up with her when she visitied the UK last year - if only for a snatched coffee on Sheffield train station!

I am always interested in writers who work across the genres and what it is that inspires them, or when they know how a piece will turn out or what it will become.  Rachel has kindly agreed to tell us about her work.

Take it away Rae... 

Genre Cross-Over

Thank you, Alison, for inviting me to your blog to give my thoughts on genre interplay in my work.

I write in what are generally considered to be several distinct genres:

fiction, poetry , graphic poetry and comics, but I don’t consider them to be disparate. In fact I find they are so closely related as to be indistinguishable.

Often inspired by visual art, my very short fiction contains imagery that then inspires my poetry, that in turn inspires my graphic work, and around it goes.

I’m a designer at heart, so I often approach a new piece of work as if creating a puzzle through use of formal restrictions that I have to write or draw my way out of. Other ideas present themselves to me complete, each dictating its own form; I always know, for example, when I’m getting a comic idea as opposed to a literary poem.

However, I seldom trouble myself to work out specifically where my poetry ends and my fiction begins. I have had a poem, “The Scientist” , shortlisted as fiction for The Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize, another poem, “Dinghy”, published as flash fiction and nominated as such for a Pushcart Prize, and my graphic poem “Alchemy Hour” won the graphic fiction category of the AUT Creative Writing Prize.

I find I lean towards each genre at a different point in the day, for example, drawing comics requires less intense concentration than writing fiction, so I will often write fiction first thing in the morning and find I have enough creative energy to draw a comic in the evenings. Poetry finds me amenable in the evenings, also, often as I’m about to fall asleep, though it’s quite emotionally draining to write. I try not to waste any writing time, and writing in a combination of genres really makes efficient use of my creative energies. I am often totally fatigued at the end of each day, and still the ideas pour in.

I think of genres as the parts of a creative machine: they may have separate names and functions, but, for me, they work best together.

Rachel J. Fenton was born in Yorkshire and currently lives in Auckland. Her poetry and fiction have won numerous awards including the 7th annual Short Fiction Competition, and appeared in the print journals The Stinging Fly Magazine, JAAM, Brief, and online at Metazen, PANK, Otoliths, Blackmail Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Blue Five Notebook and many more. AKA Rae Joyce, she is an award winning graphic poet, is featured in New Zealand Comics and Graphic Novels , Two Thirds North, Thrush Poetry Journal, and she was Artist in Residence for Counterexample Poetics. She is the Features Editor for Flash Frontier, and she blogs at snowlikethought 

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Reply Lori
9:35 AM on June 4, 2014 
That is a great perspective. I never thought of how various genres could make best use of various moments of unreliable creative energy.
10:47 AM on June 4, 2014 
Hi Lori
Thanks for the comment. Yes, I find it interesting too and useful when I'm not sure if an idea is going to be a poem or a short story - I don't worry about it - but just let it take its own direction. Rae is certainly a mistress of all genres.
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