I first met Edmund Dixon when he took over my allotment plot at the LVAA Badgercote allotments. Unfortunately work and life in general had meant that my wife and I were unable to give the plot the tender loving care and attention that it truly deserved. I knew straight away that Edmund was not going to waste a single second, he had done more in few days than I had managed in a whole year!
When you meet Edmund you get a sense that he really is aligned with nature. He is a gentle genuinely passionate and creative individual and this is clearly reflected in his writings under his ‘Nom De Plume’ “Aziz Dixon“.
Edmund kindly agreed to give the LVRA an insight into his creative process and tell us a little bit more about his poetry……
DR: I suppose the first obvious question I should ask is about your ‘Nom De Plume’, how did you come to choose the name Aziz ?
ED: This was given to me as a spiritual practice to help me overcome a long-standing sense of inadequacy. I feel I really come alive in my poetry, so it seems like a good nom de plume.
DR: What and/or who inspires you to put pen to paper (or are you a “tablet” user?) Do you have to set aside time or do you just grab a pen when inspired?
ED: I’m pre-tablet when I’m writing, I find it flows better that way. I listen and watch out for ‘poem seeds’, usually a juxtaposition of two ideas eg
I love this allotment, my Dad would have loved it too or I’m putting up a gazebo with no instructions but diagrams with a heading in 5 languages – why no words?
or my sunflowers are smaller than yours, but look at the moor beyond the fence.
Then I need a creative space for the seed to develop. Now (stage 3) I am learning to put the draft in the ‘shed’ and come back to it with secateurs after a few weeks to improve it.
DR: Living in the Rossendale Valley, surrounded by rolling green hills and beautiful landscapes, helps to promote a relaxed state of mind – do you also travel elsewhere to find inspiration and are you able to find inspiration in built up urban settings?
ED: I find a relaxed state of mind comes from within – so not dependent on geography, but very dependent on practice and training. I can find inspiration in urban settings – one of my ‘emerging’ poems is about some new underground trains.
DR: Art is very personal to the creator, an expression of their perceptions and emotions – do you ever worry about “the reader/viewer” and whether or not they will experience the same emotions?
ED: Do I worry about the reader? I started off wanting to annotate my poems to explain what I was thinking about; now I’m more likely to let the poem speak for itself, and maybe the reader will find in it something different for themselves.
DR: Your latest book is titled “Poet Emerging” but you have published several works already, (available HERE). Is the title relevant to your journey as a poet? Are you learning new techniques and/or do you feel that you are only just “emerging” as the type of poet you want to be?
ED: Poet emerging – I came up with this title because I felt I was getting more confident as a poet after self-publishing several titles, but I have just come back from a poetry master class at the Welsh Writers’ Centre, Ty Newydd, and realise how much more I can improve.
DR: So…of your previous works, do you have a favourite? And if so, which one and why?
ED: I do like the North Wales Pilgrimage poems. They chart a two-week inner and outer journey, which gives the collection a certain rhythm, and I keep going back to Wales for inspiration.
Here is our first sight of Snowdon after four days of walking. It was a very special moment for me, and I found myself wondering who had been buried in a tumulus and why just there (…and the name for Snowdon in Welsh can be translated as a tumulus or a big pile of stones)…
6. Yr Wyddfa – Tumulus
day 4 above Afon Aled,
between Llansannan and Gwrtheyrn
Eternal the mountains that nourished me,
Yr Wyddfa, Tryfan, the Carneddau,
and all of them you can see from here,
for high on the moor they buried me,
with a mound to mark my place.
Now the skylark sings for me,
the curlew calls my name,
and the bright-eyed hare
is nestling there,
in the place where
DR: You are due to read some of your pieces at the literary festival in Burnley. Is this the first time you have read publicly and are you nervous?
ED: I have read in public before, though not with so much publicity. I’m not nervous, because my poems come from the heart, but good planning and preparation are also important.
I am reading at the Burnley Literary Festival on Sunday afternoon 30 October, at 15.30, for an hour, in the Central Methodist church, near the town hall.
Tickets are free, and you can get these online at http://burnley.co.uk/lifestyle/burnley-literary-festival/#whatsOn (look under ‘What’s on.’) Or you could come on the day, and there may be places.
I also have a radio interview, live, scheduled for 11.00 on Monday 31 October on Radio Lancashire.
And there you have it folks, if you want to experience our beautiful Rossendale valley and beyond in equally beautiful words, then have a look at “Poet Emerging” by Aziz Dixon (click highlighted text for link to Amazon page) hear Edmund live at the Burnley Literary Festival or tune in to Radio Lancashire on Monday 31st October at 11:00am.