Monday, 16 August 2010

CALL ME 'WRITER' NOT 'POET', PLEASE


I feel rather procrastinatey today; maybe just getting back into the swing of things after the week-end. I have a ton of reading and editing to do for Horizon; I also have two poetry reviews to write and I am itching to get at my own work - one short story in particular is crying out to be finished.

I'm on Arena this week with Seán Rocks talking about my novel You; Wednesday night RTÉ Radio 1, at some point between 7.30pm and 8.30pm. They livestream.

A funny thing has been happening lately while I am on the promo trail for the novel. I keep being referred to as 'poet'. I do write poetry and I love it as both reader and writer but I don't consider that it defines me or what I do. I prefer 'writer'. Plain and simple. I had a piece in Saturday's Daily Mail for example (The 'My Life' page in, coincidentally, You magazine.) My one line bio read 'Poet Nuala Ní Chonchúir's début novel You is out now from New Island.' Why 'poet'?! I've published a novel. Most of what I write is short fiction. I don't get this 'poet' tag. It's the third time in a matter of weeks a newspaper has referred to me as 'poet'. I find it odd.

Now, don't get me wrong. In the right context I don't mind being called 'a poet' but I don't like it as an all-defining term. It would be like saying 'Mother Nuala Ní Chonchúir blah blah blah...' or 'Vegetarian Nuala Ní Chonchúir blah blah blah...' I am not just a mammy or a veggie! Neither am I just a poet.

Oh, I found out why that radio station never rang on Thursday. They got Emma Donoghue instead!!! And somewhere along the line someone forgot to tell me. I guess when it's a toss up between a Booker Longlistee and A.N. Other, there's no contest...but, I will be on this Thursday.

I checked their website and they don't appear to have a livestream but this is the site anyway Louth Meath Radio and they are at 95.8FM if you happen to be in that part of the country. 11.20am Thursday morning next.

Righto, must go and do some actual work. Maybe I'll write a poem ☺!

8 comments:

Kar said...

ah ha! I spotted that too, and thought considering you've just had a novel published which is in your bio for that piece, why are they calling you 'poet' and not 'writer', it would make more sense to say 'writer'. Lazy editing maybe?
Word poet aside, it's a great article, very positive!
Looking forward to Arena this week.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

I just think it's weird. I'm not sure why it happens. Lack of research, maybe?

Padhraig Nolan said...

Perhaps it's slipshod research and editorial - but then, not factually inaccurate and perhaps they're even (sub)consciously pitching an angle that helps you to stand out from all the other (non-poet) writers? From the perspective of the press, do most authors need an 'angle'?

Just finished 'You'. Took me a while. Not that it was a slow read - quite the opposite. Just that its been sitting in my 'to read' pile since I got it, while I finished the other halfdozen books I've had on the go. Verdict; sweet, atmospheric, involving as well as funny and moving in parts. Nice one Nuala.

Rachel Fenton said...

It can be a positive thing, though - most poets who write novels write beautiful prose - so it's a mark of a quality :) But I'm right with you on the label thing - writer/painter for me - Haven't taken my husband's name, either, and I'm always telling people I'm a Rachel not a wife...I can be a right pain once I get going...I think the thing I should try to remember is that not everyone thinks about the same things in the same way and words and labels have no politics attached for them - else maybe they have and they are being provocative...there, see, off on one...away with me...

eimearryan said...

Great! I'll definitely tune in Wednesday. :)

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

There is a picture of Jordan in yesterday's *Sunday Times*. Beside it is the caption 'Katie Price, novelist'. WTF?!?!?!?!?!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

PJ - thanks for the nice comments on the novel.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Rachel - yes, I get quite snarky about semantics. About most things really! :)