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There are some people who challenge us with the way they look at creativity, and Dan Holloway certainly challenges me through his championship of experimental literature, performance poetry and eschewing commercialism for creative expression.
Dan Holloway is a poet and author of fiction, as well as running 79 rat press which publishes conceptual work, He performs his poetry and hosts The New Libertines, a spoken word show.
The audio quality is a little fuzzy in this interview as Dan lives out in the sticks, but it's still a brilliant discussion, so give it a go!
In today's interview we discuss:
- How conceptual art started Dan down the path of investigating creativity. He started with poetry and then moved into writing literary fiction. How we see ourselves and our identity is a recurring theme. He used the internet to write a book interactively and now focuses on alternative forms, as well as poetry and performance. We discuss the contrast of commercialism vs playing with creativity without worrying about the outcome of the creative process.
- We discuss Evie & Guy, which is a book written entirely in numbers, a list of acts of self-pleasure a couple have over their relationship. Dan talks about how this leaves the interpretation of the relationship to the reader and removes the author from the text, as an alternative way to write. You can download Evie & Guy for free here.
Experimental fiction is not meant to be difficult, just to look at things in a different way.
- We talk about the reasons why we write, and I talk about permission to write, people's expectations and how that shapes our expression, as well as self-censorship and why sometimes, that is a good thing.
- Why self-publishing is fostering much more in terms of creative expression, because publishers generally want books that will be commercial, so they can't take a chance on the more alternative books. Dan also thinks small presses are fostering exciting literature, as self-publishing becomes increasingly commercial. It shouldn't be about just how many books you sell, it's about the creativity.
- Dan mentions a few places you can find experimental and alt-lit on Tumblr. How we construct ourselves in a digital age. Check out Alt-lit library, and also zine-fairs, which are not even online. Sabotage – reviews of the ephemeral. 3am magazine.
- Performance poetry. How Dan got started by performing short stories but then discovered performance poetry and really engaging audiences. You can read his great guest post all about his top tips for performance here. We talk about fear of performance and also fear of rejection by the audience. Transforming your creativity into another dimension, for example, book binding. Poetry sales are in decline online, but that doesn't take into account the poetry that is sold at readings, which is a great way to sell by connecting with your audience. I talk about Ben Okri, a Nigerian Booker Prize winner, who I heard read and became a lifelong fan.
You can find Dan Holloway and his books at his site, as well as all his live appearances.
You can also check out more books at 79 Rat Press.
He's also on twitter @agnieszkasshoes
What do you think of alt-lit or experimental fiction? What about performance poetry? We'd love to know your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.