Margot Farrington—a poet, performer, and writers residency founder—joins the 2017 Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers for the first time to lead The Imprint of Place: Writing Inside/Out, a workshop that will explore the power of place in poems, stories, and nonfiction. Her poetry collections include Rising and Falling, Flares and Fathoms, and Scanning for Tigers. Her other published writings include essays and interviews. She has been awarded fellowship from Norton Island, The I-Park Foundation, and The Clocktower. She has read and performed throughout the US and in France, England, Wales, and The Netherlands.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Writer, editor and blogger, Stephanie Nikolopoulos interviews Margot Farrington about her work.
SN: In addition to being the author of three poetry collections—your most recent being Scanning for Tigers (2014)—you are a performer, trained in theatre at an early age. Your readings have been described as “dynamic.” What is the relationship between poetry and performance for you?
Margot: My relationship between poetry and performance: close! Poetry began as an oral art, and provides that tribal gathering we all relish. Mine is a tandem path, rocking back and forth between writing and performance. You don’t study theater without coming away with skills: how timing matters, how to hold an audience, how to be heard (with or without a mike), and yes, how to be still and silent, too.
SN: As you write your poems, do you consider how you will read them?
Margot: I never consider how I’ll read a poem while writing it. When reading it to listeners, the greatest gift I can give them is spontaneity. Something in the read or recited poem should always remain fluid, open to surprise.
SN: Do the words have a performance of their own as they are written on the page?
Margot: That’s interesting! I suppose the words create their own performance, and their own “rehearsal” too, as the poet allows them to jostle and shift and take stage in the revision process.
SN: You are the founder and director of Writers At The Eyrie. Located in the top floor of a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, apartment, the writers residency program is open to poets, fiction, and nonfiction writers and “provides writers with a place to create work, and a haven from which to take inspiration from New York City’s five boroughs that offer some of the country’s richest cultural treasures.” Why did you decide to start a residency?
Margot: I started Writers At The Eyrie for many reasons. Writers struggle so for unbroken time: I know the value of that. People who have championed my work inspired me to champion others. My parents were generous and encouraged me to be generous as well. The residency is a grassroots endeavor, run out of pocket (a poet learns to do much with little) and I wanted to help a few writers as I myself have been helped, through friendship and through residencies I benefited mightily from. And I am a lone wolf, so this was a way to connect with others.
SN: What do you want writers to get from the workshop you’ll be conducting at this year’s Hobart Festival of Women Writers?
Margot: The workshop delves into the “imprint of place,” environments natural and manmade–and I want participants to come away with fresh strategies for how to evoke sense of place in compelling ways, for use as a tool in developing poems, essays, novels–whatever your genre. “Place” is a potent shaper of plants, animals, and people. We’ll be sharing insights through observations, exercises, and stellar examples via hand-outs and suggested readings, and I hope to inspire everyone wildly and wonderfully.
For more information on Margot Farrington and to read some of her poetry, visit: http://margotfarrington.net/.
For more information on Hobart Book Village Festival of Writers, visit: