Rona Fitzgerald comes from Glasgow, Scotland
How long have you been writing? I started writing poetry and stories in my mid-fifties. I am now 63. Most of my working life has involved writing from research reports to newspaper articles.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? I’m hoping that my greatest accomplishment is to come. So far, keeping going and getting published in a range of magazines and anthologies has been great with ninety seven poems published so far. Letting go of formality and writing in a more relaxed way is my challenge. Beginning with six poems in the Dublin based Stinging Fly magazine in 2011, I’ve been published in UK and Scottish anthologies, in Scottish Book Trust publications, in print and online.
What projects of yours have been recently published? My most recent publications are Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry 2016, Three Drops from a Cauldron Midwinter special 2016, Obsessed with Pipework No. 78, 2017, Oxford Poetry XVI.iii Winter 2016-17, ten poems in Resurrection of a Sunflower, Pski’s Porch, 2017. I continue to publish in online webzines from Gilded Dirt to The Open Mouse. In addition, reading my poems at events in Scotland and Ireland helps with confidence and exposure.
What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? My first pamphlet ‘Oidreacht/ Inheritance’ was published in 2012. I’m working towards a second pamphlet moving away from personal recollection to looking at aspects of light and shade in my world.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? The idea of keeping sane should is not to be confused with keeping focused. What drives me is a love of words, sense of wonder, an awful fear of empty pages and time wasted. Membership of the Federation of Writer’s (Scotland) and The Deadline Poets provides support and motivation.
How do you react to rejections? Rejection gets better over time, initially thought must be a crap writer but realised editing is something to hone again and again. Hardest thing is trusting voice, I enjoy a great sense of the ridiculous but have not yet incorporated into poems!
How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? When my poems are accepted, I’m very pleased, validation helps motivation. I may celebrate with a glass of burgundy.
What is your favorite book? I’m not a great fan of favourite lists, many books enthral and even scare me. I love Philip Pullman’s writing and draw great assurance from Jane Austen especially, Pride and Prejudice. There are so many poets I love that my list would fill pages. I’ve been reading Derek Mahon and find a range of poems that are immediate, expressive and inspiring.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? As for dinner , Elizabeth Bennett – a woman after my own heart – vivacious, intelligent, courageous and flawed.
What is your preferred drink while you write? While writing, water and tea are my drinks.
What is your favorite food? Fortunate to love lots of food: pastas, Mediterranean cooking lamb, aubergine tomato and potatoes, good breads including my own soda bread.
What makes you laugh? Engaging with children often make me laugh and daft situations. I live with a man and three bears so that’s often comic!
What makes you cry? I’m not someone who cries easily but so many situations in the world now make me cry for children and their futures. I may also shed a tear when watching a soppy film.
Shakespeare or Bukowski? My education in Ireland foused on Irish and British literture so Shakespeare is like kin, his words part of my development and imagination. Reading Bukowski as an adult I find his work powerful, visceral and engaging.
Personal website/blog: Don’t have a website yet but will develop it soon.
Books for sale and/or press: I’ve been fortunate with publicity in newspaers and online. This year, poems from ‘Resurrection of a Sunflower’ featured in the Glasgow Herald. In 2016, my poem was chosen in a competition by the Scottish Book Trust, repoted in the media published alongside other stories for Book Week, distrubuting 150,000 copies. I was also a finalist in a number of poetry competitions in Scotland and France, and one of the winners of a short story competition in Ireland.