MEET OUR #PPF2018 FEATURE POET...Aaron Lee
What led you to writing poetry?
I have been an avid reader since my childhood, and not long after being introduced to literature in class as an early teen, I decided to try to write my own poems. Unusually for that time, my school organised a poetry writing competition and I won the top prize when I was 16. This, and the encouragement of some teachers, made me take poetry writing seriously.
What can you tell us about the poetry you write?
My writing stems from themes that I feel strongly about. It's deeply personal, though not confessional. It's almost lyric poetry in that regard. I also care a lot about the aural and musical qualities of the line. That might seem strange, given that I'm not into spoken word poetry.
Why do you write what you write?
I write as a way to stop the world turning for a moment, to process life as it happens, to examine its trajectory.
What has been your proudest accomplishment(s) to date in regards to poetry and why?
Last year, the ArtScience Museum in Singapore asked to put up some lines from my poem "I Sing the Galactic" in big fonts on a wall of the museum. I'm quite a science (astronomy and natural sciences) geek, and it's a real thrill to me to have some thoughts next to quotes from famous scientists and philosophers. When you next get to Singapore, please go visit-- it's a great Museum!
What or who are guaranteed sources of inspiration for you when writing poetry?
My wife the national artist Namiko Chan Takahashi, has been my primary muse for nearly 20 years. She even likes me to recite my poems to her in the bedroom. I reckon it helps her sleep!
If you could have a famous poet, living or dead, write you a poem, who would you choose and why?
Seamus Heaney. I so admire his imagination and skill. Plus I wrote him a poem in the 1990s and he died before returning the favour.
What or who are the most exciting things about poetry at the moment?
The growing diversity of non-native voices in the English speaking world, is simply wonderful.
What do you hope to achieve with your poetry and writing?
I want people to be delighted and illuminated by a perfectly-wrought phrase or line. I want people to look under the veneer of things, to consider them deeply and from other viewpoints than their own. And I hope to see empathy and compassion take root in society; in fact this is the mission of LANIAKEA, the art collective that Namiko and I set up in 2014 <www.laniakea.la>.
Aaron will be here very soon! His books, pictured below, are available now from Ethos Books.
See the whole post at the Perth Poetry Festival Facebook page.