Thanet Writers Question Pauline Holmes

Poet and performer Pauline Holmes answers the Thanet Writers Discourse Questions.

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© Pauline Holmes / Thanet Writers / Fair Use / Images Combined

Hello, my name is Pauline Holmes and I’m a not-so-young writer of poetry and stories which I love to perform to anyone I can get to sit still long enough to listen.


I started writing when I was at school. English was the only subject I was any good at. Sorry, that’s not quite true, English Literature and Creative Writing were the only subjects I could be arsed to put any effort into, you could keep the rest.

I loved to read as a child and lived in a bit of a fantasy world which was so much better than the real one. I had a great imagination and was mad about ponies. I owned an imaginary horse which I rode everywhere, much to my Mother’s horror. It bolted with me in Woolworths and knocked over a Pick ‘n’ Mix display stand. Her anger was understandable, I was nineteen at the time (No, that’s a joke, in case you were wondering). Anyway, she was really unimpressed, but that’s grown-ups for you.


Initially, my writing was influenced by my great niece Livvy who is twelve, her brother Jake, fifteen, and their eleven-year-old cousin, James. In fact, it was a family holiday in Northumberland about five years ago that got me writing again, because the children liked the stories I used to tell and asked me to write them down. My love of Roald Dahl was re-ignited (everyone should be reading Revolting Rhymes and Filthy Beasts—the man was a genius). This led me to start writing the ‘dog poems’ which is how I was first noticed on the poetry scene.


I’m motivated by fun. I want my writing to be entertaining and accessible but also, hopefully in some of my work, to get people thinking, just a little, maybe seeing things from a different angle.


I’m not aware of any habits in my writing. It’s all a bit random. I write about whatever the ‘Creative Genie’ has on her mind. The Creative Genie is a little me who lives inside my head. She’s part-child, part-adult. Well, maybe not, she’s more a child who is living in a grown-up world who sees life through the lens of a child.


This is where spending time with my great niece and nephews can be really inspiring. I love chatting to them and getting their quirky views on life. I enjoy listening to their take on current affairs and bring a bit of their way of thinking into my writing.


The biggest thing that holds me back is time, or the lack of it. Also, my ‘Inner Critic’—another being that lives in my head, except this one isn’t me; it’s an overbearing parent/teacher figure who keeps nagging that I should be doing this/that instead of “faffing about writing.”


My greatest achievement is winning the November 2018 LicKitySpit Poetry Slam and then getting the opportunity to be a feature act the following month. I had a brilliant time, and supported Anthony Anaxogorou, which sounds impressive, but you should be aware that he didn’t have any choice in the matter!


My one piece of advice I’d give to other writers is to write, and keep everything you write even if you think it’s rubbish when you’re writing it, and don’t listen to your Inner Critic too much, if you have one. Sorry, that’s three things. Hey-ho, I did say I wasn’t much cop at anything at school, and that most definitely included maths.


Recently, I’ve been putting together a poetry roadshow, Talks to the Paw, incorporating all my poems about dogs. It has become a whole show, which is really exciting.


I applied to take Talks to the Paw to the Faversham Fringe and I’ve been accepted. Yay! Part of me is really excited—that would be the Creative Genie, she’s up for anything. Another part of me is going, ‘You’ve done what?’—that’s the Inner Critic, best ignored at the moment, I think.

Pauline Holmes writes lighthearted poetry that is accessible for all. Lately she’s been working on a collection of poems about dogs.

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