By Mel Haagman
Mel caught up with poet Darren J Beaney, one of the Flight Of The Dragonfly Spoken Word hosts!
Mel: Tell me about yourself, Darren!
Darren: I am a hopeless romantic! I cut my own hair. I love Marmite. I like to indulge in a good pint of craft IPA. I enjoy music, mainly punk rock but lots of other stuff as well. I have an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Brighton. I live in East Preston. I have had poems published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press, Indigo Dreams Publishing, Parthian Books, Dempsey & Windle, Poetry NI and Four Parts Press. The Angry Manifesto will be publishing one of my poems in December and my debut pamphlet Honey dew has been published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press on 13th December. I am also part of the Flight of the Dragonfly Spoken Word collective that host a bi-monthly gathering in Brighton.
Mel: How did the Flight of the Dragonflies begin?
Darren: As part of the MA in Creative Writing I took a module called “The process of publishing”, one of the group tasks was to publish an anthology. Our group decided to launch our anthology with a spoken word night. Six of us decided that we enjoyed hosting the event and wanted to carry on, although now there is only three of us. We have used three venues in Brighton, currently we use the Caroline of Brunswick (I say currently - we hope to still be using this venue post Covid). Our last three events have been on Zoom, as will the next event.
Mel: How would you describe your own style of writing?
Darren: This is incredibly difficult for me to answer, so much so that in the end I asked my MA buddy and fellow Dragonfly Barbara to describe my writing for me, this is what she said, “poetry that has a unique, sideways perspective and is rich in surreal imagery. It often tries to do something different with language and can sometime rewrite what is expected of poetry. It is often very entertaining.’
Mel: Which poets inspire you?
Darren: Can I have two? Kim Addonizio - she is ruthless and takes no prisoners with her writing, I love it! Mark Waldron - he has no limits or boundaries to his words and style
Mel: Has the lockdown given you more time to write?
Darren: Sort of - I had to complete a module for the MA and write my dissertation which included an anthology of poetry. I have also written about a dozen other poems, some for the Write Bloody UK competition.
Mel: What are the best shows you have come across during lockdown? Any good recommendations for our readers?
Darren: I am not that good at watching TV, I get bored, however there are some things that I like. The best show recently was ‘Grant’ - a docudrama about Ulysses S Grant.
Mel: Tell us the best poem you think you’ve written and where we can find it.
Darren: That is hard. Again, can I have two? ‘First date merry-go-round’’ which is in Honey dew and ‘Sugarland’’ which was highly commended in the PENfro poetry competition 2019.
Mel: Tell us everything about your latest book!
Darren: Honey dew is a collection of 21 love poems, many of them were written for an assignment as part of the MA. They have a mix of themes - the story of my early relationship with Jo, my lovely wife, and the ways in which I try to express my feelings toward her (it has a sub-title - ‘an anthology of true expression’ ). It was released 14th December was launched at Flight of the Dragonfly on 8th December. It can be bought here - www. djbeaney.wordpress.com/honey-dew
The next Flight of the Dragonfly will be 16th February via Zoom. We host Flight of the Dragonfly every other month - so the first one of 2021 will be in February. It will take place via Zoom Then we will do April, June - take the Summer off - September and December. We welcome poetry, prose and flash fiction. We ask readers to email and book an Open Mic slot (firstname.lastname@example.org m), that way they know in advance that they are going to read (about 5 minutes max), and we always try to have a published guest reader.