The following interview of Katrina Naomi by Lois P. Jones originally aired on KPFK’s Poets Cafe Podcast on Sunday, September 13th, 2020 (reproduced with permission).
Biographical Information—Katrina Naomi
Katrina’s third poetry collection, Wild Persistence, has just been published by Seren (June 2020). She was delighted to be awarded an Authors’ Foundation grant from the UK’s Society of Authors to complete it.
Her fourth poetry pamphlet, Typhoon Etiquette, was published in 2019 by Verve Poetry Press. It was written during her trip to Japan on an Arts Council-funded project. In 2020, she will travel to Mexico to begin work on a new series of poems.
Her poetry has appeared on Poems on the Underground, BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Poetry Please, and in The TLS, The Poetry Review and Modern Poetry in Translation.
In 2018 she received a BBC commission for National Poetry Day. Her poetry was highly commended in the 2017 Forward Prize for Poetry.
Her recent collection, The Way the Crocodile Taught Me, (Seren, 2016) was chosen by Foyles’ Bookshop as one of its #FoylesFive for poetry.
Katrina was the first writer-in-residence at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in W Yorks, since then she has been poet-in-residence at the Arnolfini, Gladstone’s Library and the Leach Pottery.
She has a PhD in creative writing (Goldsmiths) and tutors for Arvon, Ty Newydd and the Poetry School.
Poem in which she wears her favourite wedding dress
which is a marriage of sea and birds.
Saints are all about her. Herring and mackerel
flit from the frothing nets of underskirts.
As it drips, the dress has many moods –
more than velvet, more than silk.
It is a ruffled dress, a dress in which to swim,
a dress in which others pray. It is a dress
of some import, a dress which reels
through her arms, covers and uncovers her head.
As the tidal collars retreat, choughs fix their nests
in her windy hair, their bright legs and beaks
ornament. This is a dress for accordians and fiddles.
This is a dress for a storm – a dress of gold and white,
and blue and red, and black. In this dress,
she senses she is half-Christian, believes
in the old names – those she loved,
those she lost – Alef, Cadoc, Dungarth, Salomon.
With the itch against her skin, she lets
the fabric fall, becomes mythology. Landscape.
Katrina Naomi, Wild Persistence, Seren, 2020