Friday 12 April 2013

Writer - Norbert Hirschhorn

I'd like to welcome you to my interview with writer, Norbert Hirschhorn.  Enjoy.

Norbert Hirschhorn

Hello Norbert, can you please introduce yourself?
I am Norbert Hirschhorn, MD.  I live part-time in London, part-time in Beirut.
Ooh, that sounds exciting.  How long have you been writing?
Scientific writing for over fifty years, poetry about twenty-five.
What first got you interested in writing?
I always liked the use of words in as precise and elegant a way as possible.
Do you attend a writing group?
In London, King’s Poets since 2004; Highgate Poet’s since 2006.
Why do you attend a writing group?
I enjoy getting and giving useful feedback to poems.
What is the most valuable thing you have taken away from your writing group?
Trusted commentary and friendships. 
What genre(s) do you write?  What drew you to this/these genre(s)?
Poetry, book reviews, essays (historical research, newspaper columns). I like thoughtful writing on many topics.
Are there any genres that you don’t enjoy writing?  Why?
Novels. Too long. Never tried it.
Have you ever had anything published?  
Three collections of poetry, four pamphlets, numerous essays.
Have you sent your writing to agents/publishers?  Have you received any rejections?
Rejections from publishers – sure.
Would you consider self-publishing/e-publishing?  Why/why not?  Are you interested in eBooks, or do you prefer the old fashioned paper-made books?
I think affiliating with a regular publisher has more advantages in being able to work with an experienced outfit.  The lines are blurring however as several so-called vanity presses do provide basic services; and with small presses the author is expected to buy up a certain number of copies.  I prefer to hold and read paper-made books.
Who/what influences your writing?  Where do you get your inspiration from?
It comes from words I hear, I read, I dream.  I have a notebook with me at all times. Sometimes the words accumulate into a poem. 
Do you have a writing routine?
I keep a diary almost daily.  I read poems daily, often comment on friends’ poems. I often revise my own, even if it is revision of one word. Otherwise, I write as it comes to me. I’m probably better in the mornings.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
Always hope for the best, expect not to achieve it right away – and often never.
Do you have an editing process?  
I exchange poems with friends and poetry groups. I read out loud as I write. Revision is more fun than the original writing. 
I agree.  I love the editing more than the writing!  Have you ever attended an open mic night for spoken word performers, and either an observer or a performer?
Oh sure, and I’ve often been a featured reader.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions?  Have you ever won?
Yes, a number of prizes.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Sure, why else write?
I couldn't agree more.  What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Keep it plain as day.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Don’t sit down to write a poem; begin with words, sounds, a melody, and see where they take you.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
When the flow is good, it’s great. Otherwise it feels like grinding teeth.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Maintain a good life with wife and family.  Mentoring students and younger writers.
What types of things do you read?  Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
Biography, science, some fiction, much poetry.  I’m sure all that is an influence. 
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
Where can we find you on the internet?
What are you working on at the moment?
A fourth collection of poetry.
Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work? 

Title poem of my newest collection:
Bone-white incense
glacial aroma of absence
chants strangled in the throat
Rising earth-light
blue angelic innocence
On the dark-side
the mad the maligned
the lost the possessed

*Monastery of the Moon
© Norbert Hirschhorn 

Thank you Norbert.