JP Seabright (she/they) is a queer writer living in London. Their debut poetry pamphlet, Fragments from Before the Fall: An Anthology in Post-Anthropocene Poetry is published by Beir Bua Press. Their debut prose chapbook NO HOLDS BARRED is out early 2022 from Lupercalia Press, as is GenderFux, a collaborative poetry pamphlet, with Nine Pens Press.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your writing?
I’ve been writing on and off for a long time, although most of that time has been spent not writing, largely because I didn’t have confidence in my abilities, but also because I have the chronic neuroimmune disease ME/CFS which has meant at times I’ve been bedbound or housebound for long periods. Sometimes just reading is too difficult, let alone sitting up and typing at a laptop or writing by hand. But for the last 12 months or so during 2021, I feel as though I’ve been trying to make up for lost time, and now have over 100 poetry, prose and experimental pieces published.
Q: Your debut poetry pamphlet was recently published, can you tell us a bit about it?
Yes, Fragments from Before the Fall: An Anthology of Post-Anthropocene Poetry is a really long title for quite a short (44 pages) pamphlet, but I’m delighted that it’s found a perfect home with Beir Bua Press. It is a conceptual experimental work that uses erasure poetry as a means of commenting on the current climate crisis. The difference is that the erased poetry is my own and the book is framed as if it’s an anthology of ‘proletarian poetry’ written in the current era and coming few years, but found in the future by an Activist Archivist who has discovered these fragments and is trying to discover what happened to humanity ‘before the Fall’; the Fall in this case being a catastrophic environmental collapse.
Q: What’s your least favourite part of the writing process?
Editing prose probably, mainly because it takes time, but also distance. You really do need to look at it afresh after a while, and I either haven’t got the time, or the patience (or probably both!). Something to work on...
Q: How would you describe your writing style? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you write everyday or whenever the moment strikes you?
I wish I could write everyday! But in addition to a busy part-time job (I work for an international humanitarian medical organisation) I also have a young daughter and a chronic illness to navigate, so dedicated writing time is pretty near impossible, and I just fit it in whenever I can. Sometimes this is in between work meetings, or the middle of the night! I used to be purely a pantser writer due to time constraints, now I’m a bit of both. For my work in progress novel it’s all outlined, for shorter prose and poetry I simply go with the flow. I’ve never done any creative writing courses, it’s all self-taught, and due to time and health constraints, it’s difficult for me to even attend online workshops, so I’m generally just making it all up as I go along – then hoping that someone else likes it!
Q: What advice would you give a new writer?
Keep going. Keep writing, it’s an art and craft that needs practice, like anything else. Seek help and support, the Twitter Writing community have kept be sane and kept me going, and made me feel that my writing is worth pursuing this year. I may well have given up without them. Find your writing tribe, as well as your audience – it will be out there somewhere.
Q: What inspires you?
Everything and anything. Often random news articles and sciencey facts (quantum physics, archaic cultures, that sort of thing) but also a lot of other art and music. (In fact I’ve just completed another pamphlet out on submission which is all in response to other artists and creators – Mark Rothko, William S. Burroughs, Sappho, Hilma af Klint, Anna Kavan, James Joyce, Nick Drake, Derek Jarman, etc). I also write a lot from my own personal experience, and particuarly enjoy a speculative twist to real events. But I’m also inspired by the work of many new writers and creatives that I’ve discovered this year, simply by writing and submitting more myself, and through the Twitter community. I won’t attempt to reel off a list of names since it will be a very long list, and undoubtedly miss some brilliant people out. In particular, the writing relationships I’ve forged through my involvement with Full House Literary Magazine this year have been the most significant, and for which I feel hugely blessed.
Q: What are you working on next?
I’ve spent most of this year writing poetry, though I still wouldn’t consider myself a poet, not knowing very much at all about the craft in practice. It’s been a great way to fit writing into the short snippets of time I have, and to get stuff out there, and I’ve been lucky to have my debut pamphlet published this year and another collaborative one (written with Jem Henderson and Jonathan Kinsman) being published by Nine Pens Press in Spring 2022. There’s also a prose chapbook of short CNF stories due out sometime early 2022 from the US-based published Lupercalia Press. But what I really want to focus on (and finish!) in 2022 is my WiP novel.
Q: Where can we find out more about you and/or your book?
Fragments from Before the Fall: An Anthology of Post-Anthropocene Poetry is available direct from the publisher Beir Bua Press https://beirbuapress.com/2021/11/27/fragments-from-before-the-fall-jp-seabright/ Most of my published work is linked from my website https://jpseabright.com/ and I can be found frequently procrastinating or distracting myself from writing on Twitter @errormessage