Maggie Mackay

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Maggie Mackay comes from Dunfermline, Scotland

How long have you been writing? I loved to write at secondary school and went on to spend my teaching career developing literacy in the young. On retirement the Open University beckoned where I spent roughly three years recovering and honing my own creative writing skills. The Masters was the natural next step and in October this year I begin a PhD in Poetry.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? To my delight, last year, a couple of my poems were nominated for The Forward Prize, Best Single Poem and for the Pushcart Prize.

Where can we find your work? If you want to read my work,google it. It’s on a number of webzines such as Ink Sweat &Tears, I am Not a Silent Poet, Amaryllis, Algebra of Owls and in print, Prole, The Interpreter’s House, Three Drops Press, Northwords Now, Southlight, The Curlew and in several anthologies, most recently the #MeToo anthology, launching on International Women’s Day, 8 March.

How do you react to rejections? Rejection isn’t personal. It’s about suiting the house style, the theme, the tastes of the editors.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Perseverance is essential as much as self awareness and the ability to examine the poem critically. Write for the love of writing, not to be published. If the work is good and comes from the soul, it will succeed. Read all the time. You can only be a good writer if you read and read a variety of styles. Read what initially you resist. Stay open to form and free verse.

Who is your favorite author? Oh, choosing favourites is impossible. I have childhood treasures and theatrical ones. I would always champion Scottish literature, R L Stevenson, Walter Scott, John Buchan, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Norman McCaig, John Glenday, George Mackay Brown. Shakespeare is where it began for me as a child, alongside Robert Henryson,Homer,Virgil, Chaucer, Beowulf in later years… and there’s always the wonder of the poetry of the King James Bible, commissioned by a Scottish king.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? A fine time would be had dining with Miss Havisham,one of many fascinating Dickensian characters.

The Ramingo’s Porch Issue #2