Lindz McLeod has published poetry with Wingless Dreamer, Passaic / Völuspá, Prometheus Dreaming, Meat For Tea: the Valley Review, and For Women Who Roar; she was shortlisted for the Fish Publishing Poetry Prize in 2019. Her prose won the Cazart Short Story prize in 2012 and has been longlisted for the Fish Publishing Flash Fiction prize; her short stories have been published by the Scottish Book Trust, 365 Tomorrows, Dreamscape Press, and more.
How does being a poet inform your views on expressing emotions through writing?
I used to consider myself mainly a fiction writer; I am always looking for the actions, the subtext, the foreshadowing. This influences my poetry hugely. Expressing emotions feels much easier to do when I describe it in those terms, the smells and tastes of actions, the feel of a ripple somewhere in the body sending signals to be interpreted or ignored by the conscious mind.
Have you ever been SMITTEN and if so, do you feel it’s possible to summarize those feelings in poetry?
Oh, I have absolutely been smitten! Some of my best poems have been written about my current partner. She brings out a certain depth of feeling in my words, a dimensional texture, which otherwise would have lain flat and lifeless. At the same time, some feelings are difficult to put into words. It is the poet’s job to peel those layers away, to expose the raw material underneath, and to mould it into something accessible by an audience. I’ve found I describe myself in poetry in odd ways – ‘vulture-pretty’ was a particular favourite. I think being unafraid to make myself ugly in the pursuit of beauty helps!
Your poems in SMITTEN were excellent, why did you choose these particular poems and what did you hope they would convey to readers?
I’ll thank you for the praise, first! I’m Scottish and live in Edinburgh; the Scots have an interesting cultural relationship with the sea, through fishing, and the earth, through mining. These themes appear over and over again in my poetry; I always want to be mindful of my heritage, and use it to enhance my poetry – I often write in Scots dialect, which can be hard for non-speakers to understand. In ‘a stor’ I used Irish, which I had to research as it was quite different from the language I’m used to, but they can have similar roots and overlaps which fascinate me. In the other poems, I was thinking about particular people. ‘In the aether, all the signs’ was written about my partner; meeting her by chance felt like fate, or something like it.
SMITTEN is a collection from throughout the world we have writers from India, Africa, Australia, Canada, the UK, France and many other countries. What does a multicultural collection accomplish?
Scotland tends to be a more liberal country than the rest of the UK, which is something I’m very proud of, and is very welcoming to foreigners. I’m incredibly pleased and honoured to be able to represent my country among such a collection of cultures; we hold values as a nation which I would like to see becoming more widespread (active reduction of hate crimes/homophobia/transphobia, as examples) which feels particularly relevant to this anthology, as it is focused on love and acceptance.