A good poem can be a flower seed planted in the mind of the reader. Everything is in the poem; it just needs fertile ground to grow, inspire, make you smile, make you think.
Joanna Lilley’s seed of poetry has grown into The Fleece Era, published by Brick Books, based in Ontario. She will be reading her poetry at a book launch on March 21 in Whitehorse.
“It has been one month since the book is out, but it still feels unreal to hold it in my hands,” Lilley says. “Most of the poems were written in the last seven years. Although some ideas were there much longer.”
The book is named after a poem she called The Fleece Era.
“That poem is inspired by the first time I saw the material fleece,” Lilley says.
It became a symbol for what Lilley considers the oil age.
“At first, fleece wasn’t, as far as I know, made of recycled materials,” she says. “That came later. The poem is exploring the idea that we will all need to give up our addiction to oil and find a way to live through using resources that are renewable.”
At the moment, Lilley’s poem called “Overheard,” is her favourite in the collection. It’s about children growing up and making their own decisions.
“I’m tuned in to this one at the moment because I’ve just returned from a trip to Britain to see my parents, and it breaks my heart every time I leave them, even though I love living in Canada.”
The collection or poems has been inspired by different experiences and ideas in her life, but she says there are some themes that run through the collection.
“I’m intrigued by the experience of everyday living – those decisions we have to make each day,” Lilley says. “Everything we do has an impact on somebody or something.”
Lilley intends for her poems to reflect those impacts.
“We can’t exist without having an effect on other peoples lives,” she says.
“Everything we do has an impact on somebody or something. That troubles me, and it also excites me.”
It’s the little things that inspire Lilley to write poems.
“Seeing green parakeets flying wild in London, for example,” she says. “I have to feel an emotional or spiritual connection, though, for a poem to take hold and work its way through me and onto the page.”
She also needs silence to write.
“I can’t have the radio on or any music,” Lilley says. “I need to let my mind turn itself on. I need to sit with my fingers on the keyboard and let ideas flow. It’s a magical process that delights me.”
Joanna Lilley will be reading from her book of poetry, The Fleece Era, at a book launch at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 21, at The Old Fire Hall in Whitehorse. The book is available at Mac’s Fireweed Books.