Tuesday, 25 January 2011

One Stop Spotlight - Adam White

I think most of you have already met poet Adam White somewhere along the One Stop trail, where he shares his excellent poetry every week.

Adam has a strong voice and I very much enjoy his honesty and straight forwardness (not only in his writing) but his variety when it comes to approaching different poetic styles.

Adam is about to move from England to Canada and I want to say a special thanks that he found the time to write a bit about his background, how he came to write, and what inspires his poetry.

You can read more of Adam's work on his blog "Poetry by Adam White" and you can also find him on Twitter @adamwhitepoet.

~ Claudia

His Hands

His hands are steady, workers hands,
They work a dark workers task,
Twisting lives with thread and needle,
And souls infused in cloth and glass.
Forming perfect feminine shape
Sweetly curved and lovingly made,
With naive minds unused to life,
Innocent, untouched and afraid.

With their feet, their delicate flesh
As soft as softest, bone white silk,
They wake unknowing in the dark
Skin shining bright like moonlit milk.
Hearts of glass rest in breathless breasts
And no breath will pass their painted lips
And eyes like stars freshly cast
Guide ships in to their careful kiss.

He made one most desirable
Of all his pretty maiden dolls.
Kairi. Her name was Kairi and
She had the most shining of souls.
She was kind and sweet and caring
And giving with her lover's heart.
Her beauty left perfection spent,
Surroundings rendered empty, dark.

All able men craved her presence
Wanted, not the word for her.
Craving the most common of sights,
Her smile raised and so deftly turned
They would promise no disservice
To the beauty of his great craft,
But on this day, his love was money
And where there's money, there's a man.

He was a lord, a libertine,
A hedonist both crass and cruel,
A violent and heartless creature,
A drunkard and a proven fool
His fists played harsh on her beauty
From the first night she spent enslaved
Her suffering was so lasting
That one cold night, she ran away,

Her stitches split, stuffing scattered
Kairi dashed through dark and winding streets
Far from the pain her master gave
With clubbing hate and cloying heat.
She ran back to her great maker,
Through a bleak and telling storm,
To fall at his door and scream for love,
And sanity and for warmth.

His hands, his steady workers hands
That night they pulled at golden seams
They tore at cloth and snapped strong thread
Despite her cries and dying screams.
He ripped her perfect form apart
And smashed her eyes of starry glass
And started work on replacing her
With his hands, his steady hands.

(Copyright Adam White)


I was born and raised in Birmingham, England and (other than a year or so in Northampton, which is just as bad) I've spent all my life here. Anyone who has visited will know it's a horrid place and I am a product of that. That said, I've been blessed with knowing some wonderful people and come from a very loving family, so that has made the whole terrible situation much more bearable.

How I Came to Write:

I started writing when I was 16 (11 years ago, woof,) after some particularly traumatic events, at the suggestion of a man much more intelligent than myself. I'd lost somebody I was close to and it pushed me over the edge. That edge was self constructed of course, me being a 16 year old lad, raging with hormones, confusion, and a fair share of mental health issues which I'd hidden from everyone instead of doing the smart thing and seeking help. By the time I'd reached the tipping point, it was a little too late to reconcile my problems in an easier way so I spent a fair few years writing as a form of therapy.

It was all awful. I had no idea of form or structure or anything like that. I just scribbled hard words and, for the most part, that writing is very grim and not fit for human consumption. Take the normal teen angst poetry and combine that with a healthy dose of fantastical insanity and you're just about there. I still write this poetry and, hopefully, this part of my writing will never be read by anybody but me.

The more normal writing (if you can call it that) is the stuff I started writing for pleasure and makes up the bulk of the poetry I post on my blog. At first, the writing may have been a coping mechanism, but as I wrote more and more, I started to enjoy it. The story telling aspect of poetry is the part I love the most and, browsing through my site, you'll come across an awful lot of narrative driven verse about heroes and villains, lovers or suffering innocents.

This urge to share is a recent thing. I once ran a poetry group through the old msn communities but was never as serious about having my work seen as I am now. I set up my blog at the end of September 2010 and have been flabbergasted (great word) by the reaction. I am genuinely surprised by the amount of traffic my blog receives and all the positive feedback I've received, much of it from all the wonderful poets I've met through Twitter, Facebook, and especially One Stop Poetry. The hard work the guys here have put in to building a poetry community and promoting the up and comers is fantastic.


I love all poetry but I do have a bit of a bone to pick. I read and study a lot but I have tried to look at the medium from an objective standpoint. I've noticed that I read much of it and feel sad that, as an art form, it has become increasingly abstract and elitist, especially here in England. This is by no means a modern problem (read Milton and his self referential nonsense) but it seems like to become part of the establishment nowadays you have to write about things that only intelligentsia and other poets are going to understand. This means that the majority of people find the work unintelligible. I genuinely hate this and, while in my more private work, I do write a lot (a LOT) of this kind of stuff myself, I will only post the accessible poetry on my own blog. I want anybody to be able to read and enjoy poetry. All they should have to be able to do is read. Maybe part of it comes from how poetry is taught in schools here (badly) but the trend for referential writing isn't doing the medium any favours.

I chose to share the poem "His Hands" with you because I think it's very indicative of my narrative work. Also because it hasn't been looked at a lot by people and it's one of my favourites of my recent output. As a reader of poetry, it satisfies me and that's honestly all I look for. I am a simple creature.

In the next few days, I'm going to embark on my next big adventure. I'm moving to Montreal in Canada (one of my favourite places in the world) to start my new life with my frankly wonderful partner. What will follow is a long period of writing freedom for me, so you can expect an increased volume of writing. I will be working on my epic poem, Udulo's Wars, a few screenplays and bringing my novel up to scratch. Bits and pieces from all of these will be popping up on my blog so look out for that. My work will keep popping up on One Shot Wednesdays and One Shoot Sundays too so keep your eye out for me and add me on Twitter @AdamWhitePoet.

Photo credits:
Creative Commons, Andreas Levers, Jonathan Khoo


Anthony Desmond said...

woot! Great spotlight on Adam
(AKA The Lumberjack)

One Stop - The Place For Poets, Writers and Artists said...

Adam the first time I read your work my mouth was agape. You take words and mold them to do your bidding - now I understand how you can do that.

Thanks so much for sharing your story and inspiration.

All of One Stop Poetry appreciates you and wishes you the best in your adventure across the pond.

Moonie smiles

Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased to see Adam here today. Not only is he a fabulous top notch poet, but he's a nice guy. One of the most down to earth, unassuming poets who participate for one stop. It's a pleasure to know you hun. Keep doing what you do so well.


budh.aaah said...

Congratulations Adam! Your work is very good and today I came to know that its the work of a 27year old. Thats some maturity in the work..I would have never guessed the age.

Ted said...


Visit the old city. Go to the oldest inn in North America. If I recall corectly, it's called the Auberge St. Laurant.

They serve a roast beef in a sauce that will knock your socks off.

Bon appetite.


the walking man said...

Bravo to you sir for your philosophy of poetry!

Brian Miller said...

nice spotlight and great to get to know adam better...thanks adam and claudia...

Jinksy said...

nowadays you have to write about things that only intelligentsia and other poets are going to understand. This means that the majority of people find the work unintelligible

I've been saying this for years! Good luck in your new home...

Maureen said...

Thank you for another informative interview.

Adam, on that "bone to pick" paragraph: Many feel as you do, finding much fault with the so-called "Language Poets". My response is always: Ignore the rejections and just keep writing!

Wishing you success in your new home in Canada. Montreal is a great city and so different from Birmingham.

Adam White - Poet said...

I'd like to say thank you to Claudia for featuring me today. It's a great honour to be featured alongside the other great poets that one stop poetry has celebrated.

Thank you to everyone else also for your support over the last few months while I've been blogging my socks off. It's nice to have this kind of critical support network and I recommend this place and this group of people to all my poety friends.

Also, Ted. You know, roast beef is something I love like no other so your recommendation will certainly be followed. Bring on the cow!

Mama Zen said...

That's a really gorgeous piece!

ds said...

Such a beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing it and for the introduction to Adam, to whom I wish all the best!

Reflections said...

Great spotlight on a very talented poet. Good luck in your new endeavors Adam. May it carry the muse wnereever your travel takes you.

Heather Grace Stewart said...

Great to learn more about you, Adam, love your mission to keep it "accessible." And welcome to the Great White North--brrr!
(I swear, we have beautiful summers).

dustus said...

I'm impressed by the poetic narratives I read on Adam''s blog; glad that they are accessible, as well as enjoyable. Thanks for sharing your background with us, especially the part about writing when you were younger as a means of coping. So glad you turned to words when struggling as a teen; sets a great example for those young adults currently living through similar situations. Best wishes on your move and your future works. Also, he's fun on Twitter... @AdamWhitePoet Cheers

Natasha said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story, and I especially agree with your thoughts about where our poetry is heading...or perhaps has ended up. I really don't have a large enough vocabulary to "compete" with much of modern poetry, and lean well more towards a good storey. (For shame, I know) I think the piece you have shared with us today is amazing, and the goosebumps are still on my arms. I look forward to reading and sharing much more of your work. Many will be inspired by it, such as I was, and really...for what my humble opinion is worth, what more can a true poet ask.(Hope you enjoy Canada,eh?)

jen revved said...

So very nice to get acquainted with you, Adam! Wonderful poet you are. xxxj

Dulce said...

Great One spot LIGHT ADAM!!!
Loved it.

hedgewitch said...

Great to see Adam get the spotlight. One of my very favorites.

Anonymous said...

This week I thought I would share an experimental symbolist triolet

Pete Marshall said...

adam...I love that you are so committed to poetry...your blog is a tribute to the cause...enjoy canada..have safe travels...a wonderful spotlight and a wonderful (as always) poem...Adam is a gent..cheers pete

Shewriting said...

thanks for a great spotlight, claudia, and to adam - thank you for sharing yourself with the world. I wrote to cope and came to love it as you did. Hope you never ever ever stop writing.