Molly Bergin is a poet and Creative Writing with History graduate. Future Dentist, published as part of the Sampson Low Poetry Pamphlet Series, is her first collection of poetry. She would love to dance for a living, and she knows all the songs from Disney’s Hercules by heart. You can find her work published in 3am Magazine. http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/mollybergin/
When did you first start writing poetry?
I only started to write poetry in my second year of university as it was part of the module which Steve taught. Prior to that I had absolutely no interest in writing poetry to be honest, I hadn't found anything that made me feel I could. Through this module and with help and encouragement from Steve I ended up finding that actually, there was a little corner that my style of writing could sit in.
What are your particular interests as a poet? Are there any particular themes, ideas or objects that you’re fascinated by or like to explore in your work?
I automatically seem to write about very human things, like love, sex, loss, mostly just what makes up being alive. I just respond to what's going on around me. Like if I'm in the bath, you are going to get a poem that mentions something about being in the bath. That's what really fascinates me (not being in the bath, but being human). I like to scrutinise seemingly insignificant details. I'm unnecessarily observant so I find it very hard to not notice every fucking thing which results in this sort of over awareness and hyper reality, where I'm paying attention to things that really do not matter. I would love to write about much bigger themes and write something less self-indulgent but hey ho, I am very self-indulgent in my writing which is why the editing is so bloody crucial, (which of course it always is) otherwise it would just be poems about being an angsty 22 year old, which isn't that interesting.
What attracted you to poetry as a form?
I think it is mostly because I feel that poetry doesn't require such a rigid narrative that a lot of other forms do. I have tried writing short stories and I just can't seem to sustain the narrative or quality. I've only been doing this for a short time really so maybe once I've written more I'll feel more confident to try other forms. There's an openness to the form which I feel allows it to be very malleable, which unfortunately isn't taught in school, and thus perpetuates the idea of poetry being very rigid and stationary when I think it is a responsive and adaptable form.
What is your process when writing poetry and how do you go about editing and redrafting
I'm not really aware of my process to be honest, I would struggle to put it down in concrete terms anyway. I have noticed that if I try and sit myself down and say you are going to write today I will either write shit or really struggle. I've noticed being on the move is very helpful to me, I've written a lot on trains. That seems to allow my mind to relax probably as it's a time where you're in this place for a certain amount of time and you can't really do much else, things are out of your control, you're in a spot for the duration of your journey and you can't exactly change that. I'm inspired by everything so I just try to absorb as much of the world as possible and pay attention.
You mentioned that you’re fairly new to writing poetry. What has it been like seeing your work published as well as reading at events? It's pretty mental to be honest, if someone had said to me at the beginning of university I would have ended up doing all this I would have kicked them. It's all just very lovely really that anyone even likes it! I'm still learning how to navigate myself correctly within it but it's very exciting
Who or what inspired this collection?
It's about as cliché as you can get really. It's about a 'relationship' of sorts and mostly just the experiences of loving someone, the ups and downs, but it's also kind of an ode to myself I guess (sounding super corny) and how much I grew up and changed through this relationship or at least I hope I have anyway. People can't help but change each other and impact one another. When I initially wrote them I was very much in love and it just being this all-consuming thing and then when I went to edit them later on I was like shit how do I get back into that mind-set again? Time had passed and naturally my feelings had changed. That was probably the hardest thing with these poems, being in a different mental space when editing them to when I was writing them.
Which writers (if any) have had an influence on your work and in what way? Eimear Mcbride is a beautiful writer, A Girl is a Half Formed Thing astounded me, I have never read anything else like it. It took me about three tries but then when I was finally able to read it, I just absorbed it. The way she writes just captures something really human and you can feel everything. Sylvia Plath- the first poem I ever actually read that I wanted to read was 'You're' by Plath at college, about her pregnancy. I fell in love with it, the line 'O high riser, my little loaf' always makes me happy. And then I've just explored her work further. Steve also gave me a selection of poets’ work and I found that there were poems from a few that I adored and I wrote them all down in a notebook, I've noticed that they are all really about love or at least to me they are. I tend to like individual poems, I'll find one from a poet and it will really resonate with me. Steve has also had a pretty big influence on me as well, I mean he introduced me to all of this and has encouraged me to try it. I'm extremely grateful to him.
Future dentist is an interesting title, can you tell me a little bit about why you chose it, and how it reflects the collection as a whole? Aha I feel like I should make up a more complex reason, but the story behind the title is simply that I was outside the Rich Mix in this 1960s style white dress, talking to a homeless guy whose name I can't remember now, and he said I looked like I was a dentist from the future because of my dress. He then changed it to a dentist’s assistant which I wasn't too pleased about but never mind. I then went and told Steve about it and he was like that's what you should call your pamphlet, Future Dentist. So yeah, the title is entirely separate from the content!
What’s next for you and your poetry? Are you working on anything new? Boring stuff has taken over since leaving uni really, such as getting a job and moving, but I'm always writing in my head I just need to put it down! I'm hoping to do something with some more visual things I've created, I have a project from my final year that I submitted which is all about how we are identified through documents and the way we are represented through them to the rest of society, so hopefully I can do something with that!