Jane Burn is a writer and artist who is originally from South Yorkshire. She currently lives with her family in the North East of England. She spends eight months of the year at their 1920’s eco-friendly, off-grid wooden cottage in Northumberland, which she and her husband have spent the last three years restoring with almost entirely reclaimed or recycled materials. Her poems have been published in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies. She recently won the 2018 Poetry on the Lake and PENfro Book Festival poetry competitions.
What was it about the aims of The Poets’ Republic that made you submit your work for consideration?
I used to think that writing about politics wasn’t for the likes of me. I didn’t feel ‘intelligent’ or ‘knowledgeable’ enough. Then I slapped myself with a haddock and woke up to the fact that all of us are living with politics and its effects every single minute of the day. I sit behind a supermarket checkout year after year and it’s like a parade of the very best and worst of humanity and its opinions. You put endless copies of the Daily M**l etc over the counter and you see it slowly and surely influence the tides of fear and hate through Brexit, immigration and other important issues as you beep those evil headlines over the scanner.
You might not know exactly what you want to say but you want to say something. Something immediate, something considered, something that tells a story of history and how it might affect us today. This magazine is the place for that – the poems are all brilliant but remain accessible – they are so varied that there will always be much that will make you sit up. And then hopefully, take notice.
Also, may I add that I love the Gaelic content and think its amazing that you are offering a platform for this very important thing.
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?
Once again, I mention the word ‘accessible’. I think that listening to a massive variety of voices express their own experience will mean that we all find much to relate to. Poetry is shedding its coat of exclusivity – it is out there in so many forms now that it is fabulous. I think that we all need to keep on demonstrating that poetry is not the stronghold of dusty academia (though there’s nothing wrong with academia, dusty or not, I hasten to add ). That it’s out there for everyone. I have such respect for poets and teachers who are passionate about getting it out there to children and young people as they will be the voices of the future.
What do you consider to be the most significant social issue in Scotland today?
Nor being a resident of Scotland, I wouldn’t have the temerity to suggest what its most significant issues are. I would just hope for the same that I hope of for everywhere – and end to poverty, inequality, homelessness, abuse and discrimination. That somehow May, BoJo, Gove et al. will wake up one morning, realise that they are dangerous arseholes and retire to live quietly and anonymously somewhere remote. We will never hear from them again.
What one other poet would you recommend to readers of The Poets’ Republic?
Who should submit to The Poet’s Republic?
Anyone who reads a few back issues and thinks hey! I get this. I think I have work that might fit.
In what public space or media would you most like your work to appear?
In Donald Trump’s house in every room at high volume on infinite audio reel that he can’t escape from. Ever.
What is the best piece of writing advice you have been given so far?
Be your own most severe editor.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m being a mam, working in a supermarket, grumbling through housework, gardening, walking the dogs, riding the horse, yomping the lanes, paddling the river, sketching, painting, reading, making, restoring dilapidated property, reducing my carbon footprint, going to car boot sales.
Where can we find you online?
Any upcoming gigs or events?
Nope. I must get my arse into gear and stop being such a hermit. Also, I would need a Time Turner. Always open to offers.