EMC Question Words with... Nina Parmenter, author of "Split, Twist, Apocalypse"
Split, Twist, Apocalypse takes us to a place where real life, as beautiful and painful as it is, is just one part of a collage, where the world sits on the cusp of waking and sleep, where chance, gods, magic and the whims of the universe are just a step away. Sometimes humorous, sometimes dark, in traditional form and in free form, the poems celebrate the rich and surreal nature of living on this Earth.
WHO is Nina Parmenter? Nina Parmenter is a poet and mum to two imaginative boys. Her first collection, Split, Twist, Apocalypse is published by Indigo Dreams. Nina’s poetry is widely published in journals including Honest Ulsterman, Allegro Poetry, Snakeskin and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She was winner of the Hedgehog Poetry single poem prize in 2021 and is a Forward Prize nominee. She lives in Wiltshire, UK, where she enjoys coffee, air and laughter.
Nina can be found on Twitter @ninaparmenter, on Facebook @parmenterpoetry or on her blog at www.ninaparmenter.com
WHAT do you write? For adults, I write poems of all shades. I love poems that sit on the cusp of light and dark. the sheer indulgence of wordplay, the joy of weaving rhythm and assonance and rhyme into my work. I really enjoy writing and reading about science, and nature, and the weird and fantastical. My collection “Split, Twist, Apocalypse” is my attempt at assembling that all in one place! I write poems for children too, where I give myself permission to go all out with the rhythm and rhyme. I’ve also written a gooey alien novel for children with the working title “Murgatroyd and the Melting Mind”. Poor Murgatroyd has never made it out into the world, but I had a great time writing it!
WHY did you write Split, Twist, Apocalypse? I wanted to find out if there was a way to bring together ALL the things I love about writing poetry into one book. Could I create a collection in which I could put a light poem alongside an abstract nightmare; in which I could walk through a forest then fly to a black hole? And I wanted my rhyming and half-rhyming poems to sit happily alongside more free-form poems without anyone feeling awkward about it! In the end I put together a framework of poems about dreams and half-waking and hung the rest of my poems from it, and suddenly anything was possible. It was an exciting process.
HOW did the idea for Split, Twist, Apocalypse come about? I’d be lying if I said I started it from scratch with a specific destination in mind. I think like a lot of poets with their first collection, I started by picking out poems I’d already written that still excited me, and looking for themes in them. This can be a fascinating process of self-analysis if you’re feeling up to it, and I did learn a few things about myself! I then built on those themes and the links between them with new poems, and the book took shape. Around half the poems in the book are totally new.
WHEN do you usually write? I am a working mum and I rarely have time to purposefully write; it never comes when I try to do that anyway. So my writing takes place in fits and bursts on my phone, whilst I’m cooking the tea or driving to work, and a LOT of the gnarly lines get worked out or fixed in the shower.
Disclaimer: Every EMC interview series seeks to promote the artist and their featured writing and is in no way an endorsement of any of said artist's services, opinions or other work outside of this feature.