Josep Almudever Chanza
Josep’s intimate and engaging interview with Eye Flash is an authentic reflection of his poetry. Living in Edinburgh after being born and raised in Spain, Josep’s constant evolution of rhyme and word keeps his readers on their toes- including us. We are delighted to have Josep’s poem ‘Polyphemus’ in issue three for you to read. Find out more about him below.
Can you tell us when you became aware of poetry, and how you started to write?
I was extremely lucky to have an award-winning Catalan writer as my school teacher. She was passionate about both teaching and writing, encouraging us to let our imagination free on paper in any form and shape. Her name is Carme Miquel. She entered a poem of mine to a competition, which I won, aged very very young, about a potato that loved living in my village. I wasn’t aware then of surrealism.
Are you aware of your work evolving over time? Are there any of your poems you keep coming back to edit/rewrite?
Hell yeah, particularly when you write in a language that is not your mother tongue, there’s a clear evolution of where you started and where you are. Editing is never ending. Sometimes, you look back on something you think you’ve finished and think, who wrote that?! There is this particular poem about my clubbing days in the (now disappeared) G.A.Y. Astoria in London, which I can’t quite be done with. They were such happy days. Finishing the poem would mean fixing those memories into something permanent, past.
What has been your greatest achievement with your writing so far?
Reading some of my work in the Barbican Library, in London. I love that place. And organising poetry reading sessions in my faculty. I’m doing my PhD at the moment, at the Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh, and it’s great to see how people throw themselves at poetry and song in order to complement/escape/think around what we study/work on.
How would you describe your own style of writing?
Intimate. Of the body. Poet Clare Pollard told me once she knew very few male contemporary poets that wrote in that vein. I took it as a compliment.
Can you tell us a bit about your poem’s appearing in issue three of Eye Flash?
I’ve been doing fieldwork for my PhD in Spain, where I’m originally from, and something that I find shocking is how precarious jobs are. The labour reform by the previous conservative government was disastrous for labour rights, particularly for factory and manual workers. However, the media and the public opinion mention it seldom. The day to day is very different: people, with meagre salaries, complain about their bosses, about immigrants taking their jobs, blame themselves for not being able to keep jobs, largely ignoring the bigger picture of capitalist profit and complicit government policies. I thought then of Polyphemus, the famous one-eyed giant tricked by Odysseus into calling him Nobody. When Odysseus blinds Polyphemus he is in pain but unable to get help from his fellow Cyclops: each time they ask what’s up with him, he replies Nobody hurt me!
Also, follow my Instagram account for poetry and people: I take pictures of people in the street and write them a verse or two @clearlightbulb