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Interview with the poet Victoria Field
article [ Interviews ]
Compilation: Cultural Crossroads

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by [caterinaivescu ]

2011-02-14  |     | 

As it is my very first time to interview a writer, I would like to know when you started to experience writing. Was there a particular book or poem that inspired you or expressing emotions and experiences were a way to communicate with the inner self?
I always loved reading and writing - I believed in fairy tales and was obsessed for a long time with the children's writer Enid Blyton. I kept diaries as a teenager and enjoyed writing long letters to friends and family. I only understood the power of writing as a way of communicating with the self when I went on my first writing workshop in 1995.

You draw upon everything that surrounds you in writing poetry. In poems like ‘Along the River Fall’, ‘Dead Beech Tree at Trebah’ or ‘St. Elizabeth’s’, there is the nature, history and a sense of particularity. Is there a favourite recurrent theme in your work?
At the moment I am very concerned with the effect of light in nature - you can find more poems on my blog -

The poem ‘Petition’ leads my thought to sanctity, something that bears a holy feature. What kind of influence do you consider religion has on your poetical work?
I am a Christian and take religion very seriously. I live in Cornwall where there is a tradition of Celtic Christianity and Petition is about that. Petition has a number of meanings and when I wrote it, secular petitions against the war in Iraq were everywhere.

I believe Cornwall’s Cathedral plays an important part in your creation. What are the features of the cathedral or around that drew your attention mostly?
I was writer in residence at Truro Cathedral in 2006 and have worshipped there since 1999. It's a modern building, very simple and exquisite Gothic - I tried in Many Waters to give a very immediate response to the building and its people, untainted by 'knowledge' or dogma.

Do you consider that the volume ‘Many Water’ brings a different perspective in your poetry?
Yes, it was very much public poetry for an audience that may not have much experience with contemporary poetry.

Do you think that Cornwall ’s Cathedral experience has made a change over your views as a poet?
Yes, it's deepened my desire to write about religious experience and God - not easy in a secular, rationalist world!

What kind of significance do the volumes of poetry, ‘Olga’s Dreams’ and ‘Many Waters’, have to you?
Olga's Dreams is a kind of apprentice work with a bit of everything flung in. Many Waters has more cohesion and is for a specific purpose.

Have you ever refused or delayed publishing poems as they did not answer your inner call or motifs?
Yes, often, I have many unpublished poems that are not 'ready'.

On your quality as a therapist poet, what kind of advice would you give to people who would like to undertake this kind of therapy but might not be endowed with writing?
Most people can use poetry therapeutically, even if they are not poets - it's like singing, or dancing - you don't have to be 'a singer' or 'a dancer' to benefit. Please see the publisher website and a blog entry I wrote about therapeutic writing.

Could you tell something about your next literary projects in the near future?
I am currently completing a book-length memoir about pilgrimage and marriage. Then I plan to work on a new text book, a new collection of poems and a play!

“ Victoria Field was born in London in 1963. She moved to Cornwall in 1999 where she now works as a writer and poetry therapist, having previously lived and worked in Turkey, Russia and Pakistan. She has published two collections of poetry, 'Olga's Dreams' and 'Many Waters', both with fal, her own award-winning small press. 'Many Waters' is based on a year-long residency at Truro Cathedral. Her poetry has been broadcast on BBC Radio Cornwall, Radio 3 and Radio 4. She also writes fiction and drama and has had two plays produced by Hall for Cornwall: Blood (2005) and Glass Heart (2006). Her fiction, poetry and drama have won many awards.
She qualified as a Certified Poetry Therapist through the US National Association for Poetry Therapy in 2005 and in 2006, received a Pioneer Award for her work in the field. She gives workshops in many different educational, health and community settings and has co-edited two books on therapeutic writing - 'Writing Works' (with Gillie Bolton and Kate Thompson, JKP, 2006) and 'Prompted to Write' (with Zeeba Ansari, fal, 2007). She has also published a children's book, 'The Gift' (fal, 2007). She is a member of Falmouth Poetry Group and a former chair of Lapidus.
Her first poetry collection, 'Olga’s Dreams' has received warm reviews and was described by Poetry London as ‘delicious’. Western Morning News said it was ‘extraordinarily sensual … distinctive and alluring’ and Raw Edge, ‘the kind of book you wish was ‘scratch and sniff’. One of her short stories was described by The Times as ‘an object lesson in construction’ and the local West Briton as ‘an exercise in disjointed surrealism’. She likes being, to quote Hugh MacDiarmid, ‘whaur extremes meet’.” (Source:

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