Hello Fred and welcome to writing.ie. You’ve had such a long writing life so far, I’m not sure where to start. But I’ll start at the beginning. How did you first get interested in poetry?I was writing poetry very early on, at about the same time that I began to write short stories. I wanted only to be a short story writer, as it transpires. Steinbeck influenced me, and James Baldwin and later the French writers. Dear me, but I toted things up the other day, and it is forty-two years since I published my first short story! Poetry was always dear to me in so much as, writing songs, which I also did from an early age, I believed in the measured potency of words. I also believed – and it was in the air then too – that poetry had a social and political importance; certainly,
that poets had or should have. Not many Irish contemporary poets want to hear that now, sadly.