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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Interview with Poet ... Samuel Hurley of Manchester

I'm a lover of words and Instagram. My friend, Betsy, suggested to me late in 2013 to get on Instagram, and I was like what? Insta what? ! I'm so glad I joined it because I'm able to share pictures and some of my interviews as well, and I also get to discover the writings of others. That is how I came across Samuel Hurley.
Samuel Hurley writes poetry, and he doesn't just share it in a book or in a post on Instagram. He has his own YouTube channel where you can see him "perform" his poetry. It's called "Performance Poerty" which I really enjoy. As a poet as well, I could appreciate his writings even more because for me to write poetry is  to write a bit of my soul onto paper. He bares his soul as well not just on paper but in his videos.
Read more about this chap from England and see what he loves about writing poetry, and there are a couple of videos of poetry at end of interview.

I know you’re from Manchester, England. For those who are unfamiliar with England, what part of the country is that in and is that your hometown?
Yes. Manchester is my home town/city I’ve lived here all my life. It’s a beautiful city full of art, culture, music. It has a rich history and beautiful architecture. I’m very proud of Manchester.

How long have you been a writer?
 I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’d write poems for my pets when they died (Looking back it seems like that happened an awful lot!). I’ve always had an affinity for poetry - for expression through words.
Funnily enough I was but into ‘special help’ English classes when I was in primary school. I couldn’t write, I had all these ideas in my head and they’d come out jumbled on the page. The words were there but they just wouldn’t sit coherently. But then at some point… Everything just clicked. And I went from being bottom to top of the class. And by secondary (I think you Americans call it High School) I was in the ‘elite’ English group. I think I can thank poetry for that… I was given a book of poetry by my primary school teacher, it was animal poetry. And I fell in love. ‘Tiger Tiger burning bright…’ That sort of thing.
I think that’s what started my love for poetry and language. Or at least it started my understanding of how words sit on a page.

What do you love about writing poetry?
 Ultimately it’s the power of words. It’s how an idea or thought can be expressed through some scattered words. I love the freedom of poetry, the artistic license that’s granted to the writer and the freedom of interpretation then handed to the reader.
For me…. Poetry is my music. If I could sing or play a guitar then maybe I’d funnel my words through music. But the page is my stage (as sickeningly cheesy as that sounds).
I can tell stories with poetry, short little snippets of my thoughts which are part exorcism part show piece.
Poetry helps me understand my own thoughts, helps me organize my views of the world or come to terms with things that I can’t speak or communicate in other ways.
I love how accessible poetry is as well…. You can read a single poem and be instantly moved, or inspired. There’s little commitment for the reader and for the writer, the budding poet, it’s a beautiful way to get creative and get words to paper. Anyone can write poetry you just need a pen and a brain…

Tell me what inspired you to write Let Me Be Your Villain.” When I read it, I was thinking it’s about a guy who knows that good girls like bad boys and that you’re just expressing that in the poem, am I correct? By the way, it’s one of my favorites.
I’m glad you liked it! And I love hearing peoples interpretation of my words. Often I’ll find new things about myself or my poetry from feedback. So it’s wonderful to hear what you made of it.
It’s very close to that. It’s a focus on how love or relationships become content or stagnant and how that’s not what I want. I don’t want to be somebody’s doormat or the ‘nice guy’ - ‘steady eddy’ type. I want like most of us, to be loved, to have someone who is interested in me and my work and my art. Not someone who is used to me.
But also it’s about how love thrives in a situation like that… Which I guess is where the ‘bad boy’ mindset comes from like when things are unstable, unpredictable, and irrational even. The senses are heightened; we feel more intensely, we act more spontaneously. Yet people seek love that is ‘everlasting’ and are disappointed when after a couple of years the spark is gone. You have to keep the spark alive somehow, or you have to settle that love…. maybe it’s not meant to be permanent. Not romantic love anyway. But I don’t know…. My mind is constantly changing.

Do you have a favorite author and book?
In short… No.
I have favorite books and favorite authors and poets but not one. Not a writer who encapsulates all my literary yearnings.
I read eclectically; fantasy, drama, historical, horror. I’ll go through stages of reading one author obsessively and then I’ll switch and leave them alone for a while.
It also depends how much I’m writing. If I’m writing a lot, I’ll try not to read too much. As I find it can influence my style. But then I’ll take a sabbatical from writing and just read as much as I can.

Now, you’re a photographer as well. What has been some of your best photography shots and where?
I’ve always enjoyed taking photos of people. Portraits. I love capturing someone’s personality in a single shot. Lots of photographers starting out think that the key to good photography lies in technical or artistic skill. And whilst that’s true in some areas of photography, when you’re dealing with people, real life subjects, it’s about your connection to that person, about bringing the life out of them. You're responsible for the end image always. And it’s your job to get the story or character to shine through.
I did stage photography for a couple of years, mainly focusing on the students at the school of theatre here in Manchester. And I adored doing that, mainly because of my background in theatre. But watching the plays and seeing the actors come to life whilst capturing it through a lens and getting paid at the same time… Well I was very lucky I can tell you that.
I miss that actually. I miss the theatre too.

Do you prefer writing over photography?
I definitely prefer writing over photography. Writing gives me more freedom; it’s more a part of me than photography ever could be. Photography requires equipment, tools, models, locations….. Whilst writing requires the same, you’re in sandbox or god mode with writing. There are no limits, but your own talent. Your characters are whoever you want them to be, your locations wherever. It’s limitless which in some ways can be a curse, as you have to be more disciplined, there can be the urge to stray too far and get lost in the paradox of choice.

Tell me three fun facts about you and make it them interesting.
Well my father was a professional clown which made for a very interesting upbringing. I did shows with him as a kid. I guess it’s where I began to derive my love of performance from and showmanship. Even though I was very shy… I still am shy… But in a different way I suppose.
I’m a type one diabetic (not sure that’s a fun fact - ha!) and have been since I was 17. I mostly cope okay. But to anyone else out there who’s diabetic. I know your struggle! The urge to bury myself in sweets is strong.
I have a dizziness condition… That still lingers. It was awful last year, I thought I was dying. But I still get bouts of it. I get light sensitive as well. Last year I spent the whole year wearing dark sunglasses even in the office. It made for some very interesting conversations when I had to take a business meeting wearing black shades.
A fourth - I’m a self proclaimed hermit. I get social burnout pretty easy. I’m very sociable and outgoing but I can’t keep it up for long. People get pissed at me on social media because I don’t reply quickly enough. Or I can’t continue a conversation for too long. I get overwhelmed. It’s a flaw, but I understand who I am and what my limits are.

 What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled and have you written about it?
I’ve not travelled nearly half as much as I want or plan to… I ran a business for most of my 20’s and that consumed me. It gave me great satisfaction but limited the choices I had…
I went to Brussels last year and to Bruges. That was wonderful. I’ve been to Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Portugal - I’ve seen lots of places in Europe.
In regards to poetry though… Or writing about places - I don’t write about places as such. I write about moments. Moments that are nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I can’t really recall writing about a specific place.
Maybe I should though? Sounds like fun.

Are you considering writing a book one day?
Oh yes absolutely. I’m working on some little projects at the moment. And my plan is to write novels eventually. But I want time to mature with my writing… I don’t want to put a book out there that isn’t right. That is sloppy. And I think a lot of writing is maturity, development. A good writer is someone who writes constantly, who realizes bad writing and then builds on it.
I’m not sure if I’m quite there yet. I’ve got a few novels inside of me; I’m just working on the voice.

I love to share inspirational and motivational quotes with my readers; do you have one that you go to when you’re having a tough day?
Maybe Hunter S Thompsons quote:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
I love this because I think there’s this positivity mentality that we should all be constantly happy, that life should just be a series of positive events one after the other. But I don’t believe that.  I think anyone who lives there life smiling from day to day isn’t feeling the full spectrum of the human psyche. I think you’re doing alright so long as you’re still moving towards your goals, taking risks and ultimately setting new ones.

Your poem that starts with We want them, some kind of immortal”, please tell me what inspired you to write that?
 This is a very personal poem actually…. I wrote this poem about a month after the death of my little brother. He was 21, and he was my best friend. He was a writer as well and extremely gifted. He was a wonderful young man and just my hero for lots of reasons.
But the poem deals with the idea… Or maybe the shock of being forced to realize that the one’s we love aren’t here forever. Everything is finite. Everything is hurtling towards an unknown expiry date. His death was so sudden so unexpected that it just destroyed me completely. And it was my way of expressing some of the feelings I was dealing with. I struggled with how I could ever love something again; I feared loving something because I know it’s not forever. But also fearing death taking away a life I’ve not yet lived.

Where do you do most of your writing…in a caféé or at home or just whenever the mood strikes?
Everywhere… I don’t have a set place (that would be nice though)… On the train, in work, in bed. If I think of something I have to write it down. I sometimes write in pieces as well…. I’ll write maybe a line or a phrase and then let it settle. And then I’ll come back to it in a few months, and add the rest. I guess it’s like lego poetry, ha.
On other occasions the full piece will be there. Although I’m never happy with anything I write, not fully, I will go back and change a word or move some punctuation, or add a line or remove one. I like to see my poetry as organic. I enjoyed editing poetry sometimes more than I do writing it.
My biggest writing times are before 9am and after 11pm… when there’s not many other people awake or around. Not sure why… But I think that’s a common thing for writers. Clarity maybe?  Not sure.

How long have you’ve been doing YouTube for your poetry?
Not long at all… Although that’s a bit more complex. I actually did a collection about 3/4 years ago for YouTube. But I never promoted myself; I was unorganized, sketchy, whimsical and strayed away. But this new channel hasn’t been going long. It’s a lot of fun.
I trained as a professional actor originally… I’ve actually done lots of things, lot son different professions. I’m a bit of a mental nomad like that - perhaps I’m fickle? But I have a love of creativity and feel like I jump into different shoes every week. But performance and writing seem to blend so well with me. I write a story/poem and then I get to tell it in my way.
I have big ambitions for my channel. But it’s small at the moment which is nice because I can do what I want without really feeling pressured to deliver.

Check out more of his works at his website and follow him on Instagram and YouTube.

Let Me Be Your Villain....by Samuel Hurley

Comedy Tragedy History-Spoken Word Poetry 

About Maria Rochelle

Maria is a writer of multiple genres, and author of the popular children's picture story book series Jasmine Dreams.
Find out more about Maria here →


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