Simon Armitage (for it is he)***: I am talking to William Thirsk-Gaskill, the celebrated writer of short fiction, and powerhouse of West Yorkshire performance poetry.
WT-G: Hello, Simon. We meet at last.
Simon: Er, yes. I have here a copy of William’s debut collection, which is called ‘Throwing Mother In The Skip’. Why did you give it that title?
WT-G: My mother died relatively young, and relatively quickly. She was cremated. We didn’t literally throw her in the skip, but I did throw away many of her possessions. It struck me at the time that, in a sense, the possessions were more of a representation of her life than she herself had been, at the point when she died.
Simon: Are all your poems about bereavement?
WT-G: No. Some of them are about generational conflict. Some are about bad relationships, or relationship break-up. Some are about self-realisation. Some are about mental illness.
Simon: Those sound like very dour subjects.
WT-G: There are two funny ones. I hope people will be content with those, for now. I will write some more funny ones, as soon as funny material comes into my life, that I want to express.
Simon: Would you say your poetry is mostly confessional?
WT-G: I would say it is nearly all confessional.
Simon: You realise that the word “confessional” is often used pejoratively in connection with contemporary poetry.
WT-G: Yes. That doesn’t worry me. I think you have to write about your own experiences. It is by articulating your own experiences that you connect with other people’s experiences.
Simon: What do you expect your readers to say, after they have read your work?
WT-G: What they say is up to them.
Simon: What do you hope they would say?
WT-G: I hope they would say, “Anybody could have written that. Therefore, I will write poetry of my own.” Unless, of course, they already write poetry, in which case, I hope they would just say, “The time I spent reading that was time well spent.”
Simon: So, how do you …
WT-G: Do you know that I have carried one of your socks?
Simon: Er, how do you …
WT-G: It was brown, and furry. I helped to carry it round the dales. It was a very rich shade of brown. I rather liked it.
Simon: I am afraid that is all we have time for.
WT-G: It is available from Stairwell Books.
WT-G: http://www.stairwellbooks.co.uk. The cover price is £7. It is £8.50, including UK postage and packing.
*** None of this is true, except the details about how to buy the book.