Todays Feature Poet on Ink & Quill is Ryan Stone, from Days of Stone. It is with great pleasure to introduce you to Ryan, a fellow Australian and an extremely talented writer, whose poetry always leaves me inspired and contemplative.
Name: Ryan Stone
Country: Melbourne, Australia
Age: Old enough to know better…young enough not to care.
A Bit About Me:
I have no formal credentials, just an observer’s eye and an insatiable appetite for books. I’m rough around the edges but the right turn of phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time. I love Metallica and Ted Kooser with equal passion and my closest friend in the world is my German Shepherd (just don’t tell my wife).
A selection of my writing and artwork can be found on my blog – Days Of Stone
When did you first start writing?
The first time I ever considered my writing to be ‘writing’ was towards the end of high school when I was blessed with an incredibly passionate English teacher who managed to channel a teenage boy’s angst and anger into something less destructive. When one of my poems earned me a kiss from a pretty girl I had a crush on, I knew writing was something I’d stick with.
What does poetry mean to you?
I think Anton Chekhov explains what I like about it best – ‘Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.’
‘I love the way a poem can capture more than a photograph, can carry an image or emotion over time and space and let me experience someone else’s worldview for a moment.’
I also enjoy reading one of my own poems years after it was written and being transported back to a previous headspace.
What might inspire you to write a poem? How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form or an image?
Nearly all of my poetry starts while I’m running with my dog through the rainforest beside my house. Usually a thought, a memory or an observation takes root and nags at me until I manage to jot it down. Sometimes an unusual word or phrase will catch me the same way. My dog has developed his very own ‘here we go again’ face that he pulls each time a run pauses so I can tap out a note or two.
Which writers/poets inspire and influence your own writing?
Originally, my love of poetry was nurtured by Maya Angelou, Kenneth Slessor, Jim Morrison (The Doors), Ani Difranco and Jewel Kilcher. When I first discovered Ted Kooser a few years ago, I think my poetry took a huge leap forwards. His book, ‘The Poetry Home Repair Manual’ was full of ‘Aha!’ moments for me. Most recently, I’ve lost myself in the brilliant Buddy Wakefield.
Tell us about your writing process: Pen and paper, computer, notes?
Almost exclusively, my writing begins as a note or two on my iPhone while I’m running and later develops on my iPad. Writing environment is incredibly important to me and the Mac/IPad writing program – Ulysses – puts me in an excellent creative headspace. I tend to write a first draft very quickly once an idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two before returning and revising over and over and over…
of sirens makes
returns her to
a cub from his
Poem inspiration: I generally write all my poetry in free verse or senryu/5-7-5 format. I’ve tried my hand at a couple of forms but they always come out feeling forced. Recently I was introduced to the Musette form by my good friend, Thomas, at Hook Line and Inkwell.
The Musette worked for me like placing a key into a locked door – I had a stack of unfinished poems sitting around staring at dead ends and all of a sudden I found them twisting themselves into Musettes. There is something about the beautiful rhyme scheme and having to conform to a limited number of words that I really enjoy about the form:
first line – 2 syllables
second line – 4 syllables
third line – 2 syllables
rhyme scheme – a/b/a c/d/c e/f/e
title reflects poems content
Leaving Violet Town
The boy sits alone
while the carriage fills
around him. It’s a V-line,
a long haul, thundering
a chipped sign fades
and Violet Town falls away.
He retreats to a paperback
kingdom, while oblivious
wheels devour miles.
Sometimes his eyes rise
to watch the landscape
grind from here to there.
holds the night at bay
as a voiceover calls
At journey’s end,
crisp air whispers
possibility. Behind him,
doors hiss shut. Ahead,
a turnstile beckons.
– Ryan Stone
First published in Writers’ Forum Magazine issue 159, December 2014
Poem inspiration: I served in the Australian Army for a few years, during which time I lived and worked in a border town, many hours from family and friends. During infrequent trips home, I passed the boredom of the long haul train ride by watching other travelers and trying to imagine the stories behind each journey. This poem began as a collection of these observations combined with the idea that a train ride through the night shares similarities with the journey we make from childhood into adulthood.
Dragonflies and Raindrops
It starts with a single languid drop,
beating a hardpan drum.
Cicadas warble a scorched-earth vibrato,
rushing skyward, the long-dry undone.
Rusty tears trickle their bullnose percussion
on verandah iron and brass. While the red dusts
of torment yawn and drink deeply,
thirsty as fire-kissed grass.
My hard-bitten mongrels, in Waratah shade,
flick ears laid unseasonably low.
Drought threatens to claim what Tigers have not.
Limp tails tell tales of woe.
Resembling slender men, brown withered stems
raise limp hands, tattered and burned.
A chorus begins, Magpie trills and woodwind;
life to the outback returned.
Movement staccatos; even dragonflies pause
from their wild tumbles and dips.
A long-absent lover, in the final refrain,
bestows a moist kiss on parched lips.
– Ryan Stone
First published in Of Words and Water 2014.
Poem inspiration: This poem was written for a charity anthology in support of Water Aid. A lot of my poetry is influenced by the Australian outback and the amazing animals and plant life by which I’m surrounded. The return of rain after surviving a period of drought is an incredible thing to experience.