Synaesthesia Magazine Green - Page 21

Christopher Atkinson is a Milton Keynes based photographer, and has recently graduated from the University of Westminster having gained a 2:1 in Modern History.

Christopher has been working with film and digital based photography for about three years now, and plans to focus more on his film work so expect some of that when the next issue comes around! He develops all his own films using innovative methods that ensure high contrast.

Trees are fascinating - from the way they grow from a seed, to the way they support eco-systems and bear fruit. This photograph is of an amazing tree trunk taken in summertime last year in Greenwich Park, South East London.

Christopher Atkinson was walking to the observatory at the top of Greenwich Hill to watch the sun descend over the bustling city, when he stumbled across this old oak tree: marked by time and scarred by the elements, as it will be eternally.

More of Christopher Atkinson HERE

This issue, Synaesthesia Magazine was lucky enough to interview Hugh Dunkerley, West Sussex Poet Laureate. Author of Poetry Collections Fast and Hare, Dunkerley is keen on ecocriticism, and this is reflected in his works.

He currently teaches Creative Writing at undergraduate degree level, and also contributes to the MA Creative Writing course at the University of Chichester.

We understand that your interests in ecocriticism are a strong influence upon your work – what first prompted your fascination?

After I finished my first degree, I worked in conservation for a year. My job involved digging ponds and making nature areas in schools. It was great job, and I was outside a lot. I was also exposed to a lot of environmental issues. At the same time I was reading Ted Hughes's poetry about nature and the two things started me writing poetry seriously. Years later, I wanted to bring these issues into my teaching. At the time ecocriticism was just taking off in the UK.

Fast was published ten years after your first collection. Would you recommend that writers took a break between collections?

I didn't consciously take a break. It was more that I had a long period when I didn't write much. I think this was partly because I needed to change the way I wrote as well as what I wrote about, but it took me a long time to discover what it was I wanted to say. I think each collection has to be different in some way, and this may involve a fallow period.

What steps did you take before your work was published?

I have always sent my work out to magazines and anthologies. This helps you to see what might be working and what isn't. I also belong to a workshop. So the poems that finally end up in a collection have been through a lot of editing and rewriting. Getting published in magazines etc is crucial if you want a publisher to take you seriously.

One question that always seems to pop up for every writer is how to tackle writers' block. What do you do to combat your writers' block?

In the past the poetry has dried up for long periods. Now I tend to write a lot more, so that I always have something to work on. But ultimately it is a mysterious process over which one has only a little control. I guess you have to keep trying, noting down every idea. But you must also keep feeding yourself by reading.

Interview with...

HUGH DUNKERLEY

The blossom photograph on page 16-17 was taken in Regent's Park, London on a sunny April day using a Nikon DSLR. The blossom smelt so refreshing after such a cold, long and miserable winter that Atkinson had to capture this break in the seasons.