Dave Kavanagh chats to featured poet Rose Mary Boehm

German-born, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and ‘Tangents’, a full-length poetry collection published in the UK in 2011, She’s three times winner of the Goodreads monthly competition. Recent poetry collections: ‘From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949: A Child’s Journey’ and ‘Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back’. Her latest full-length poetry MS, ‘The Rain Girl’, will be published by Chaffinch Press in 2020

Dave Kavanagh.

Hello Rose. Thank you for agreeing to speak with us. Let’s start with the poems in your submission. In each of the five pieces you tell a story. How much of the real Rose Mary Boehm is contained in the work? 

Rose Mary Boehm

I suppose all of me. And the poems that tell you about me don’t have to be written in the first person (many of which are not actually ‘autobiographical’). I lived a long live, travelled, learned—together with five languages—about different cultures, religions, met people in often extreme circumstances… all this, by the nature of the beast, stays in one’s head and wants to be chewed over. What better way to let it take on form but as a poem.

Dave Kavanagh.

You were born in Germany, grew up in the UK and now live in Lima. What nationality do you consider yourself to be? 

Rose Mary Boehm

This is a difficult question to answer, especially since ‘nationality’ isn’t quite the important thing here. More as in, “What do consider your home?” Clearly, I am infused with my German beginnings. Not only because my formative years were lived during WWII in Germany, but also the years when a girl grows into a young woman and tries to find her feet as a young adult. The UK in general, and London in particular, became HOME. I married, I had my children, the English sense of humour finally allowed me to laugh the way I had always wanted to… once I laughed about the Goons I could never look back.

I live in Peru because I married again—a Peruvian—and live here with my second husband. Lima (and Peru) have become a kind of home; it’s a beautiful and exciting place, but my heart is in the UK, especially in London. 

Dave Kavanagh.

Your latest collection, The Rain Girl is due for release this year with Chaffinch Press. Tell us about the work and what inspired it?

Rose Mary Boehm

It’s a collection of poems from various stages of my life or, better said, referring to many different stages of my life. Memories, musings, angers, happinesses, fleeting moments… I am 82 and my life was quite a rollercoaster. I suppose I needed to write down not only what I remembered, but those surreal thoughts born from those memories and taking flight. I am also no longer ‘immortal’ and, therefore, death is something to wonder about. 

Dave Kavanagh.

Why did you choose to split the collection into five parts, what significance do they have?

Rose Mary Boehm

I had to bring order to a certain chaos. ‘The Collector’ contains the more surreal thoughts; ‘Instar’ is the shedding and making new; ‘The Old Gods’ deals mostly with superstitions and beliefs; ‘Random’ I hope contains exactly those poems; and in ‘It’s a Wrap’ I hope I am touching on the finality of things, end of make-belief perhaps? But it’s a somewhat haphazard way of ‘cataloguing’ poems, I hope it’ll work for the reader. 

Dave Kavanagh

Tell us about your writing routine, are you strict or do you write as the mood takes you?

Rose Mary Boehm

I don’t have a routine. When a poem is ready, it will out.

Dave Kavanagh

Finally, as a poet with several published works, what advice would you give to emerging poets?

Rose Mary Boehm

Read, read, read. Read the classics, read the moderns, read novels, read essays, read more poetry. Be turned on by others, imitate others, reject others… Be not afraid to ‘letting it all hang out’, but be disciplined in the words you chose, re-invent the way to say it, learn from others how they managed to move you. Even line breaks matter. Then do your own thing.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Romy, this interview is so much yourself : beautiful, strong, uninhibited, tactful, sincere .. a pleasure to read !
    Thanks to Dave and to you.
    Please, keep on writing and inspiring us all for many years – Alfonso

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