Andy N speaks with Carolyn Crossley

Editor´s note; It was great to receive a contribution from our regular correspondent Michael Higgins a week or so ago, especially as it was about two people I knew quite well when I lived in Rochdale for so many decades, before retiring here to Lanzarote five years ago. Michael had sent us a copy of an interview by Andy N, a performance poet with a great reputation on the local circuit, and Carolyn Crossley who was a member of the Touchstones Creative Writing Group (TVWG) that I facilitated for a number of years before leaving the UK. I remember her fondly as one of an ´unholy trinity´ of strolling poets and players, with a great sense of humour. I have been aware for a number of years of how Katie Haigh, a colleague of Carolyn´s in TCWG, has worked on the annual NAPOWRIMO challenge, but I only learned from her responses to Andy N´s opening question that Carolyn has also done so in the past.

Andy N is the author of four full length poetry collections – the most recent being the Streets were all we could see. He is also the host / creator of ‘Spoken Label’ – an author / writer chat series as well as Podcast series such as Reading in Bed, Comics Unity, Wrestle-Up and the Koll, Andy N And Amanda Steele show. He also creates ambient music under the name of Ocean In A Bottle. His official blog is onewriterandhispc.blogspot.com Apparently, he does sleep occasionally sleep.

Not whilst talking to Carolyn, though. Nobody sleeps when The Vixen Of Verse, as she copyrights herself, is talking. Nobody ! And so he delivered his opening question.

Andy N (left) Can you tell us about what made you want to take up this challenge over April about writing poetry in so many different forms?

I have done NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) before but this year I wanted an extra challenge. I enjoy writing different forms of poetry so I thought I would have this extra challenge this year, 30 poems, 30 different poetry forms in 30 days. Challenge leads to growth and we have to keep growing.

How have you found this challenge?

I found it easy at the start as I knew quite a lot of poetry forms, but I didn’t know 30. So I put out a call on Facebook and 4 of my poet friends came up with some more. I think I am up to about 40 now. I was flagging a bit on the last day as I was writing a Sestina and an Ode as I had got behind. So I went right to the wire and finished at midnight on the 30th.

I remember you telling me you had 27 different forms the first time we spoke about this, but it is has now gone up to 38. Are you writing this just in April or are you going into May now?

No, I am going back to short form poetry. I am going back to haikus, tankas, shadormas and triolets.

Have you found some of the forms easier to writer than others?

Yes, the ones I already knew how to write were easier to write while the forms that were new to me were much harder.

Do you have any favourites of these?

Well, my absolute favourite one is Triolet, which is a 13th century poetry form, which is only 8 lines long. Thomas Hardy wrote them. I like the idea of writing forms that are so old

Any you won’t go anywhere near again? (LOL)

Yes, I can’t imagine doing monostitch or concrete poetry and sestinas are 39 lines long and like poetry sudoku!

Is this something you can see yourself doing again next year?

Absolutely, it will be my 3rd time doing NaPoWriMo, but maybe I will do all short form poems next year, make life a bit easier. Less typing for my arthritic fingers to do!

Is there anywhere people can read these poems?

All my poetry is on my poetry blog at:
And you will also find some explanations of the forms. Eventually I will have an instruction page on each of the forms I have used.

Some examples of what I wrote are as follows:

Day 3 – Haiku

old cherry tree sheds
blossom, white as snow, inside,
tiny pink hearts.
© VixenOfVerse, 2021

Day 2 – Triolet

The Road Not Taken – A Triolet

The road not taken lingers in a subliminal place.
In time, out of time, grass will always seem greener.
All those roads taking up all that unclaimed space.
The road not taken  lingers in a subliminal place.
I would be more  disillusioned with a less bruised face.
I skip joyfully down my chosen path much keener.
The road less taken lingers in a subliminal place.
In time, out of time, grass will always seem greener.
© VixenOfVerse, 2021.

Day 16 – Skeltonic (or Tumbling poem)

A Skeltonic – Whatever We Are Told.

Nothing has ceased.
We are still being fleeced.
Palms are being greased.
Too much money, the beast.
The poor excluded from the feast.
The rich affected the least.
But even they are banned from the piste.
No planes for holidays released.

We have to wait and see.
Go from A through to Zee.
Pay a hefty fee.
We have to take the knee.
We really should save a tree.
Definitely look after each bee.
Keep our cats without a single flea.
Stop using the word me.
© VixenofVerse, 2021

Day 30 – Ode

Ode to NaPoWriMo

At last, we reach the end of the project.
Thirty days have come and are now departed.
We have expressed passion and intellect.
We have written of pure love uncharted.
Poets fulfilled in practice of their craft.
Exalted by ‘likes’and feedback – what joy!
We ask little but work into the night.
We take challenges, turn them into graft.
We market our work, no time to be coy.
Lots of poems as books will no doubt take flight!
© VixenOfVerse, 2021

Carolyn Crossley

Carolyn has been writing and performing poetry since 2002. She came to Haiku/Senryu by joining the popular Facebook group THE DAILY HAIKU and now writes these poems daily. They also appear on her WordPress blog site:


Carolyn also takes part in NaPoWriMo – National Poetry Writing Month in April every year where the aim is to write a poem a day either with or without prompts. She has had many poems published in anthologies. Most recently in “The Sound Of Brilliance” published in the USA in April 2021. Available on Amazon UK in paperback and on Kindle.

Carolyn Crossley has also written plays, monologues, short stories and her first novel. Her ambition is to publish her first anthology of poetry.

Carolyn comes from Oldham in the Greater Manchester conurbation, is medically retired from work and considers herself disabled. She loves writing, in general and poetry in particular. Carolyn is also a Cat – Mum to Rio and Miss Molly who she adores.

We look forward to bring you a future interview in Sidetracks And Detours with Andy N and including details of availability of all his excellent work.

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