Drew McNaughton was born in Concord, Massachusetts. A poet and musician, he now resides in Edinburgh. He is an exponent of digital art-forms, working under the name Kyberpoetica.
What was it about the aims of The Poets’ Republic that made you submit your work for consideration?
I like the idea that poetry (and other arts) can affect a positive change in the world. We all have our voices and many people just want to have their voices heard in a world where very few seem to listen. The Poets’ Republic is committed to helping facilitate this, including voices of people in the beautiful language of Gaelic. I also have met many of the poets involved with the publication through events and their enthusiasm and dedication are inspiring.
Poetry used to be the voice of the people. How can we regenerate people’s understanding of, and enthusiasm for, poetry as a vehicle for social change?
Having publications such as The Poets’ Republic is a great resource. However, I also think that we don’t need to do anything actually, just get out of the way. I went into my daughter’s school and read some poetry to her class and almost instantly they were coming forward volunteering to recite their own poetry. Our society tends to stifle that creativity by being judgemental. We need to just open our minds without prejudice and let things happen.
What do you consider to be the most significant social issue in Scotland today?
I’ve always been a tree-hugger at heart so I would have to say climate change and the environment. Fortunately, Scotland is taking the lead on tackling the problems however there is still a lot more that needs to be done. As an oil producing nation, we have a responsibility to use our resources wisely and make sure that we leave a healthy environment for our children, clean water, good habitats for ourselves and other creatures and clean air.
Which other poet would you recommend to readers of The Poets’ Republic?
It’s very tough to choose, but right now I would say Somhairle Mac Gill-Eain (Sorley Maclean). Apart from the amazing skill and vocabulary of his poetry and his ability to convey traditional and historical knowledge, he wrote about the major issues of his day which were the rise of fascism and the ongoing consequences of greed in society. I’m sad to say that it is just as relevant today as it was then.
Who should submit to The Poet’s Republic?
Anyone who writes in order to lift up the minds of their fellow humans. You know who you are!
In what public space or media would you most like your work to appear?
A book. I’ve always loved books. I used to get lost for hours in bookstores and libraries.
What is the best piece of writing advice you have been given so far?
When I was a lot younger I spoke to Jalal Nurridin from The Last Poets over the phone. Don’t ask me how I got his number, I still can’t believe it myself. I asked him if he had any advice for a young poet and he said “It’s like Duke Ellington said…. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Spending time with my daughter, reading poetry, especially Gaelic poetry, and probably spending to much time on social media. Although I have to get out into the country and be in nature as well for the sake of mental peace.
Where can we find you online?
Any upcoming gigs or events?
Not myself but if you permit me I will mention that I’m involved in the Seachdain na Gàidhlig (Edinburgh Gaelic Festival) which happens every year in November and includes many events celebrating the Gaelic community and all that it has to offer in Edinburgh. There will be poetry and music too! (Including a special event with Marcas Mac an Tuairneir and Scott de Buitléir – Ed). All are welcome and if you want to find out more have a look at our website.