DON BEUKS IS THE AUTHOR OF THE SALAMANDER CHRONICLES
FIN SORREL:When you are composing poetry, what are some of the things around you that inspire?
DON BEUKS: A song, a lyric, a sound sometimes even just silence makes me write down what enters my mind at the time. I build up a vocabulary list or random thoughts ignited by a quote, an image still or moving or just what I sense around me at the time which could be whilst out in the garden or during nature walks or at the beach come rain or shine.
FIN SORREL:Who are your favorite poets?
DON BEUKS:I will name those who immediately comes to mind.William Blake, Dylan Thomas, Rupert Brooke, Virginia Woolf, Raja Williams, Scott Thomas Outlar, Heath Brougher, Adam Levon Brown, Sheika A, Soodabeh Saiednia and Bevan Boggenpoel. There are more to explore and this list will evolve as I discover more contemporary poets of these times...
FIN SORREL:What do you think of modern art, poetry, fiction, and film?
DON BEUKS: Any modern art that grabs my immediate attention and causes a slight tingle and crawling goose bumps deserves my curiosity and exploration. Shapes, obscure objects and reimagined works exploring the human condition makes me sit up and take notice, especially if it ignites me to turn it into ekphrastic poetry, which I am very passionate about. In fact, so much so that my second book 'Icarus Rising-Volume 1’ (Alien Buddha Press) is a result of my ekphrastic collection to date in collaboration with artists, cartoonists and photographers.Any poetry that questions, challenges the status quo, protest, evoke and connects deeply with a receptive reader, makes me dive into it and if I drown in the process, well I hope to emerge renewed and share the experience with anyone willing to listen.I was introduced to fiction from a very young age but as a visual learner, I could only appreciate it when I could imagine characters, scenery and plots by the imagery used by good writers hooking me from the very beginning. If it doesn’t hit a chord with me, I abandon a book abruptly and forget all about it.
FIN SORREL: What does your writing process look like?
DON BEUKS:Sometimes I make a random list of possible titles inspired by a song, film, image or news headlines.Once I get a theme or flash idea in my head, I do some research to incorporate realistic and factual references in my writing, as well as merge fantasy, legend and fictional influences to create something authentic and unique to make me stand out from the crowd. Maybe my English and Afrikaans bilingual background also adds to my authenticity, as I merge the two languages when inspired to do so depending on the genre of what I write about.All I know is that once I start a poem or flash fiction, I do not stop writing until I reach a required line total or feel satisfied about the flow and ending or suggested ending. Only then do I sit up, read through, maybe edit and have initial goosebumps of what I have created. I astonish myself sometimes of what I have been able to create and it scares me at the same time to know I can dig much deeper into my creative persona and adapt to any impulse.
FIN SORREL: How many drafts do you usually make while composing?
DON BEUKS: Honestly? I might be happy with a first draft and feel satisfied with what has been achieved but otherwise I will improve it two or three times when writing a final draft due to global events, or even when collating selected poems for a new book.
FIN SORREL: When did you start writing? DON BEUKS: I guess my language teachers at high school inspired me to use language in a certain way for maximum impact to score marks to pass creative writing exams. I had the opportunity then to start experimenting with various themes.I took up writing again in my early twenties but began a journal at the age of 30, when I chronicled my childhood and young adult experiences of Apartheid, a racially divisive government imposed system of keeping white South African citizens separate from black, Indian and so called coloured or mixed race people along educational, societal and cultural lines, resulting in different races existing in racially created societies from 1948 to 1992.I have not stopped writing since and am currently working on a collection inspired by my time in Spain in a UNESCO world heritage Natural site with evidence of prehistoric human existence during the Bronze Age, as well as collating a new book for a South African as well as a global audience. My debut publication in a South African Anthology of four poets is also due in August 2018, entitled 'In Pursuit of Poetic Perfection.