Search
  • guts publishing

Julian Bishop Interview - Cyber Smut

Julian's poem 'Tracker' is in our Cyber Smut anthology, release date 15 September. For pre-orders visit: www.gutspublishing.com/books


Would you like to tell us about First Call Media and what kind of work you do?

Sure – I help prepare people for media interviews (like this haha) so they can communicate something meaningful rather than fending off what can sometimes be a stream of antagonistic questions. I’ve worked with all kinds of organisations from charities (Friends of the Earth, Shelter etc) to FTSE-100 companies and even the European Central Bank.


Perhaps we all have a rational or professional ‘mind’ and a creative ‘mind’ although it really does seem that your two minds are miles apart. How does your professional life differ from your creative life? Do you find it difficult to compartmentalize? Can you summarize how television journalism differs from poetry?

I started my career as a reporter of the South Wales Echo in Cardiff having decided journalism was the only way to make money as a writer. Eventually I worked for both the BBC and ITN in London – dare I say there’s not much room for poetry on News At Ten! I guess writing poetry was an antidote to the often brutal news stories I worked on – and even now I use news stories as a source for many of my poems. I guess it’s a way of processing events often so overwhelming that broadcast pictures and “facts” can’t do them justice.


Tell us about the collective group Poets For The Planet. What is it, and how did you become involved?

The group was set up by poet Jacqueline Saphra and a group of like-minded eco poets – I joined the collective quite early on. The aim of the group is to respond to and raise awareness of the climate crisis through poetry – we held a big reading event just before lockdown and it’s great to see affiliate groups springing up in other countries too.


Can you explain what Eco Poetry is and why it’s important?

The easy answer is any poem that touches directly on the climate crisis; the more tricksy answer is doesn’t the climate crisis form the backdrop to all our lives so every poem touches on it in some way?


You’ve been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize. What was your poem about, and how did you feel when you got the news?

My poem for the Bridport was called 'Window Ledge' and was written about my parents. They live in a touristy village and stare out at a world staring in at them – it explored the conflict between the worlds. I didn’t know if being shortlisted was a big deal until my City Lit poetry tutor congratulated me!


What attracted you to Cyber Smut, or was it Cyber Lives when you submitted your poem?

I think it was Cyber Lives – there’s not much direct smut in my poem although I think there’s a sexual charge rippling beneath the surface… when I workshopped it some people were shocked by what it described so I thought it might be tricky to place. Thanks guys!


What are your favourite and least favourite things about living in North London? Do you have recommendations for us South-Londoners?

Best – it’s absolutely great for poetry with some really strong stanza groups. I also live next to some fantastic countryside in High Barnet. Worst – the High Street is dire.


Describe yourself in 3 words.

I hate labels


* * *


Julian Bishop is a former television journalist living in North London who is a member of the collective group Poets For The Planet. A former runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry, he’s one of four prize-winning poets featured in a 2020 pamphlet called Poems For The Planet. He’s also been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize.

32 views

©2020 by Guts Publishing. Proudly created with Wix.com