New Collection This Way >> 'Signs' by Lucy Ingrams

Every year Live Canon runs its Collection Competition and we are delighted to be launching the 2022 winners at the Bedford in Balham on July 23rd. In anticipation of the release of her new poetry collection, we sat down with author Lucy Ingrams to ask some questions about her upcoming work, Signs:


What inspired your book?

As a debut collection, Signs is more of a gathering-together than a body of work engendered by a single impulse. That said, in the choosing, the book seemed to follow its own unifying principle. There were many poems I tried to include that just wouldn't stick – and in the end only these poems, in this order, with these interstices, were the ones that would shape the form that became Signs. How they knew, and I still don’t, really is mysterious.


How long have you been writing?

In a way – since childhood, but daring to try it more seriously happened around twenty years ago.


What can you say about the writing process?

All the things that other writers say at this point hold up: to learn to trust it, to commit to it… The more you can both be, and be open to, your writing self, perhaps the deeper in you can drill. In fact, mining might be a way to characterise the process: the seam of poetry has its own organic entity, but as 'the poet' you may at any point be a careless or meticulous, a deaf or attuned miner of the seam – and that’s the part to take care of.

The other thing to say, maybe, is that it can take a long time for the poet to get to know their work. Learning more about what you've hauled up to the surface happens as you edit. Then in the presence of first readers, say in a writers’ workshop, and after that at poetry readings. I’m not sure it ever finishes.


What was the most challenging aspect of your writing? 

Fighting for time, space and the means to write at all is really challenging. If you do win on the outer practicalities for a while, next there’s fighting the inner resistance your fear puts up. Say, finally, you’re actually writing, straightaway you have to guard against plausibility, fluency, fallacy – strain every nerve of your listening to keep the language absolutely potent, fresh, dynamic, free.


What do you hope your reader gains or takes away from your writing? 

I sometimes think of writing as a form of extreme reading. To go DIY and try to produce the kind of magic that has been worked in you profoundly by others’ writing is a drastic step, but logical. Poetry’s deep field work has to do with feeling. If a reader’s feeling begins to resonate at the interface of any of these poems, then in that exact instant a new reader-writer-reader circle will fly into orbit, and so imagination renews itself. 

Lucy Ingrams' collection, Signs, is available to pre-order now from the Live Canon store:

Join us for the launch event at the Bedford in Balham or via the livestream on July 23rd at 7pm. Book your free tickets here:

Lucy Ingrams has had poems in various poetry magazines, most recently Poetry Ireland Review and Agenda. She won the Manchester Poetry Prize in 2015 and the Magma Poetry Competition in 2016. Her debut pamphlet Light-fall was published by Flarestack Poets in 2019.