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Spotlight Poet…..

Screenname: LaGrif

 Published Name: LaGrif (Bryan Sydney Griffin)

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am an eccentric, gregarious, enthusiastic liver of life. I was born with an abiding love of books, theatre, film and obituaries. I have lived quite an adventurous life and have been lucky to meet interesting people (some minor celebrities) and attended many funerals. My work career has been varied and for the most part successful. I have been both employee and employer. I have both lost and made money most of my life. Luckily for me I pursue life not wealth so the good times and bad times have been fun. I have eaten in the best restaurants stayed in the best hotels. I have rubbed shoulders with the Mighty and the Shady and been equally at ease with both. Now I find myself winding down into a reasonably comfortable quieter existence. Though I shall never retire I intend to continue earning just enough with the littlest effort to maintain a rich tapestry of life.

 Age: 62

 Where are you from? United Kingdom, England, Pelsall

 Favorite poet(s) ?

 So many but Poe, Greaves, Kipling, and Shakespeare are old friends that I consistently visit

 Favorite poem ?

The one I am going to read next

 When did you first start writing ?

I learned to read and write before I attended school so I suppose it became an extension of my thoughts early on. I would have been about 12 years old when teachers first started to find merit in my imaginative writing.

 What was your first poem about ?

I could not remember the first struggling scrawls. I was 18 when I wrote the sweetness of meeting which was my first real earnest attempt. What was it about?-well at that age- obviously- love and loss

 What inspires you as a poet ?

No muse could fail to be inspired by the sky at night-but in general it is the ever intriguing and interesting Human condition. For me it is always a delight and wonder.

 How did you get to this stage in your writing?

Words have always been my Joy, in writing, reading, their history and meaning.

Tell us about your Journey….

On my approaching 60 years young my father died. It made me reassess the essentials -what are my priorities -where is my Joy. I wrote a poetic tribute to him and since then the ink has never dried.

What was your “aha” moment … that helped you decide to publish ?

It’s not for the money, not really the glory, or seeking some sort of immortality. It is more an answer to the important question-does my poetry stand? –does it have merit?. Only readership can answer that and publishing is a natural extension from that. I suppose I will have to include prideful competitiveness to the list of my many sins.

Some adlibbed writing about yourself…..(Enjoy This Part)

The nicest person that ever cut a throat.

 Links to Published Works,

I have been published in a number of AP anthologies that are on sale in Amazon. I am pleased to have been selected anything increasing my readership is good. However since I did not edit these editions the Titles hold no great interest to me. It is always a source of amusement how far my poetry has spread within the Google search machine. I find all sorts of links including one of my poems in Cyclopaedia

http://en.cyclopaedia.net/wiki/Raibeart-Ruadh

Typing LaGrif, bryansydneygriffin, poetry will find them. My narrations of my poems can be found on YouTube using google search for example  

An English Country Garden

The Salmons Journey

The Swans

The 1950s a poem

Bryan LaGrifs Blog

Share a few of your favorite poetry resources…..

I have quite a substantial book collection and I find books such as The Oxford Library of English Poetry very useful, Kipling and Shakespeare are very inspirational. Singer songwriters like Leonard Cohen ,Jake Thackray, Randy Newman, Noel Coward and Flanders and Swann who have originality and suave de vive. I highly recommend if you have not heard them to give them a try. If you like odes then listen to the recognised master Cyril Fletcher. Being eccentric the Victorian breakfast philosopher “Holmes at the breakfast Table” is a joy. Today the Internet surfing of poetry can bring delight not forgetting of course Allpoetry. Life experience is by far the best resource, stepping out of the comfort zone meeting people the more eccentric the better. Howl at the moon, stand in a rainstorm, drag your self obsession’s into the daylight and laugh with, not at people. Not only will you find your centre but inspiration. It worked for me and I suppose the merit of my words can only be judged by what I have written and how much merit and diversity (if any) you as reader find within.

Which poet do you feel has influenced you most ?

 At the age of 11 on a holiday at my Aunties I discovered Robert Graves I Claudius and Claudius the God I read them avidly (still do). That led me to his poetic works. I discovered Reynard the Fox and the Dauber then ever onward.

 What advice do you have for poets wanting to publish their works ?

Ask yourself why you wish to publish. If it is vanity-meaning something to show –put on the bookshelf-immortality then consider why pay out money,use the AP facilities to be included in anthologies and buy a few copies, they are usually quite cheap.

Poets have little chance with large publishing houses. Vanity publishing can be a dangerous path as well as expensive,it should not cost you to be published. Having said this I am considering sharing the cost of professional Editing and Publishing with like-minded poets donating about 30 poems a piece and self-marketing through Amazon and EBay and recitals. Others offer free publishing with approx. 10% royalties but you handover all rights to that work thus any success will not particularly benefit you, rather the Publisher.

Entering poetry competitions can be a way of interesting publishers but this to can cost with entry fees. I am at the moment compiling approx. 70 poems for “ A Walk on the Dark side.” I am sending samples of my poetry to all sorts of publishers; I shall include some narrated versions on YouTube and also distribute them. I shall contact local radio stations and do live recitals. In other words I shall treat it like a business-take time -get it right-spread the word-work hard on the marketing-knock every door till one opens. The most important thing-what will it cost against which method offers the best personal benefit and a greater readership.

 What methods have worked best for you ?

It is a little early to say-I think a shared cost and benefit between a limited number of poets (about 5) done in a professional manner is a way of gaining experience whilst other strategies are being put in place. A few years ago I used to perform live readings and I think this is a very good way to get a good word of mouth going about your poetry. I shall shortly be selecting some venues to begin again

Some of LaGrifs favorite writes…