CSL Blog Project
Lisa Mulrooney is a poet raised out of Redditch, England, and currently lives in Stony Plain, Alberta. At the age of fifteen, Lisa and her family immigrated to Canada where she spent the later part of her teenage years. The literature Lisa’s parents shared with her as a child had a heavy influence on her character, and ultimately instilled a love for “the sounds of poetry, the rhythms and the rhymes.” At the age of six, she began to create poetry of her own. As she continued to create poetry, she began to hope her creations would someday be published; so she began sending her work to publishers. In summer 2018, Lisa started to unveil herself as a poet to the public. Lisa beautifully illustrates her struggle to find solidity in her identity through a post made on her personal website entitled, ““Coming Out” as a Poet, and the Response of a Stranger” (Mulrooney). Her article serves as an inspiration to unpublished writers who have experienced similar dilemmas involving; public validation and its role in personal identification. I chose to base this project off of Lisa due to my curiosity surrounding how her major transition at the age of fifteen influenced the content of her poetry, and her admirable tenacity in the pursuit of being published.
Composed below is an interview with Lisa Mulrooney:
What would you consider the most pivotal moment of your life? How has this translated into your poems?
Emigrating to Canada was momentous for me. I left behind everything that was familiar. I am white and speak English, so my “difference” often went unnoticed by other people. I certainly felt different though, like an outsider, in a way that was difficult to explain or reconcile with my “sameness.” Then, when I returned to the UK for the first time, and every time since, I recognized that I no longer belonged there either. I think that is why questions of identity often surface in my poems. It is a recurring theme for me.”(Mulrooney)
Does your poetry look into your own intimate experiences or is intended to resonate with readers of different backgrounds?
My poetry looks at both my own experiences and those of others. I’d like to think that it gives some insight to those who live outside of those experiences, that it can give them another way of looking at the world. I try not to be too confessional, unless I feel it’s important to express my own experiences to validate similar feelings for someone else. Oftentimes, the “I” in my poems is not me; it is someone like me but whose experience may be slightly different – perhaps more or less intense than my own.” (Mulrooney)
How has submitting your works to publishers affected your style of poetry over time?
I have certainly become more aware of the reader. I think carefully about line lengths, line breaks and punctuation, because I want my audience to read my poem aloud in a similar way to how I would, to catch and capitalize upon the same rhythms and sounds.When it comes to content, I try to find some universal truths and capture the emotions attached to them so that my poems are not just specific to my own experience. While I may conjure detailed and specific images, I do try to leave room for a reader to engage with the poem in a way that is very personal for them as well. My poems often lend themselves to multiple interpretations, and I don’t believe that my interpretation of my own poem is the only valid one.(Mulrooney)
Lisa’s answers provide insight on her poetic character. It strikes me how relevant the concept of identity is apparent in her life and within her poetry. A comment that interested me was her mention of her work providing “insight to those who live outside of those experiences, that it can give them another way of looking at the world” (Mulrooney). It is definite to me that Lisa’s experiences accompanying her emigration from England have broadened her view as a poet. This has enabled her to write in a manner that is specific enough to provide insight on the world, whilst maintaining space for readers to develop their personal meaning. I personally connect to Lisa’s story as I also went through a cultural change in my own life when my family moved from Galway to Edmonton. This change provided me with a broadened view of society, and literature, just as Lisa Mulrooney’s change provided her with a similar experience. The fact that the poet strives for her readers to interpret the poem in their own way is meaningful to me as I appreciate the importance of multiple perspectives, values, and views.
Mulrooney, Lisa. “Re: CSL Blog Project”. Received by Hunter Boyer, 2 Oct. 2018
Lisa Mulrooney. ““Coming Out” as a Poet, and the Response of a Stranger.” Lisa Mulrooney|Poetry Musings and Dabblings, 29 Sept 2018, www.lisamulrooney.com. Accessed 29 Sept 2018.