Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author & Poet, Frank Prem
Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you a poet that I met in Robbie Cheadle’s Poetry Sharing Facebook Group by the name of Frank Prem. When I asked him to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE, he readily agreed! We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.
First, please meet my guest, poet, Frank Prem.
Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet for forty years. When not writing or reading his poetry to an audience, he fills his time by working as a psychiatric nurse.
He has been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as ‘spoken word’.
He lives with his multi-talented singer/songwriter/artist wife Leanne Murphy in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).
Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.
Hi, Frank. I heard that you considered writing under a pseudonym? How did that go for you?
When I first determined that I would be a writer, I was reasonably convinced that it had to be through the use of a pseudonym. I had no confidence that my own name had any power – neither writing power, nor follower power, nor retail power. I believed, in fact, that I had to be someone else, in order to become a writer.
My thinking along these lines led me to think about what I would be prepared to give up to be a better writer, and I concluded that the answer was ‘everything’. My very soul, in fact.
The penname and pseudonym I adopted was ‘Frank Faust’. I started a website for my poetry using that name, had some poems published using it, read poetry on the open mic circuit and finally self-published my first collection of poems ‘The Book of Evenings’ (no longer available) under that author name.
That’s interesting. So at this point in your writing career, what does literary success look like to you?
My work is storytelling in free-verse poetry. Simple language that addresses complex issues, sometimes, and whimsy at other times, but accessible to the person who describes themselves as ‘not usually a reader of poetry’.
I find attempts at sophistication in poetry quite troubling, as I more often than not see a focus on the shape and complexity of the words coming at the expense of communication with the reader.
So, literary success, for me, is to be read widely, with readers wanting to discuss what they’ve read – amongst themselves, with friends and families, or with myself. It is having readers one-up me with better examples of the issues I am discussing that are drawn from their own lives and experiences.
How do you incorporate the noise around you into the story you are writing at the moment?
I write a lot of poems that incorporate my take on onomatopoeia within them. Bird sound, street sound, wind sound. The sand and the sea.
I rely very heavily on the things around me (objects and natural world) having a voice, and delight in identifying it for the purpose of a poem.
In recent times, I have been ‘voicing’ photographs that I’ve taken of objects at a collectibles market, while also taking pictures of clouds and using them as a meditative medium for poems.
Allowing an object or an image to ‘speak’ is probably fundamental now to the way I go about my work.
That’s brilliant. I employ many of the same elements in my syllabic poetry. Do you blog? And, also explain how your blogging helps you to sell your poetry books.
I have a great deal of my poetry available on my two everyday blog sites https://frankprem.wordpress.com (for my longer work) and https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com (for work of exactly seventeen syllables)
My posts to these sites are generally exclusively in the form of poetry, perhaps with pictures. I don’t discuss myself there or daily events or engage in social chat other than in comments and responses. The business of posting my poetry is all I am seeking to achieve with the blogs.
My first indie-published collection – a memoir titled ‘Small Town Kid’ is available from the usual distributors, and I’m intending to release a number of collections in the next year and a half or so, so I have also started an author page https://frankprem.com/ that will be used to feature publishing activities, audio of public readings of poetry, appearances, and engagements.
A 5 STAR review for Frank’s book:
From the dedication poem, “I Can Hardly Wait to Show You”, to “Circular Square Town,” Frank Prem’s chronological journey from infancy to the present has a familiar feel to it; almost as if you took a walk through your own memory lane to recall the innumerable small, but unforgettable moments that make up a life.
Frank’s style is minimalist, with plenty of room to fill in the blanks with your own conjecture or possible parallel memories.Amazon: Ms_Jade_Li
Written about an Australian town that was a gold-rush town in its day, it touches on those times as well as describes the landscapes there. Frank’s work is approachable, understandable, and sensitive in its handling of the most delicate of subjects.
My favorite poems, in a book of favorites – they’re all good! – are: “poppy cakes”, “frenki boy”, “the exuberance of my aunt”, “loss of faith”, “picnic story”, “the dawn of civilisation”, “the hallways of st. joseph’s”, “pumpkin rock terrorists”, “a tricky place (the annual fete)”, “fight”, “sweet maureen”, “libby’s puzzle”, “vale”, “palmer’s not”.
I can’t tell how sales will be impacted by blogs and author pages, yet, but I’m hopeful that there will be good cross-linking that will help sales keep ticking over.
It’s a tricky business, and because I know that I grow weary of encountering authors who are relentlessly promoting their last book. It doesn’t do it for me.
Thanks for stopping by, Frank. It’s been great getting to know more about you.
Thanks, Colleen. I had a great time.
How to contact Author & Poet, Frank Perm
Find recordings of his poetry: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
His poetry blogs are located at: